On Thursday, June 19, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) is open late for its monthly evening party series, PEM/PM. Members, locals and first-time visitors are invited to drink up the atmosphere of a 19th-century English pub during the time of J.M.W. Turner, the British artist celebrated in Turner & the Sea, a new exhibition of more than 100 paintings on view this summer. The evening will feature gallery talks, The Jovial Crew singing folk songs of the sea and shore, a British beer tasting in the Asian Garden, the opportunity to play darts and other pub games and an art-making activity to decorate your own coaster.
Dramatic, contemplative, dangerous and beautiful, the sea was the perfect subject to showcase the singular talents of Turner. See iconic works spanning the artist's career from his transformative Academy paintings of the late 1790s and early 1800s to the unfinished, experimental seascapes produced toward the end of his life. Paintings by European and American masters - such as Constable, Whistler and Sargent - illuminate how Turner influenced generations of artists.
As depicted in a new film that won acclaim at this year's Cannes Film Festival, Turner is said to have lashed himself to a mast in a storm, in order to perfectly capture the light and raucous waves. "Turner lived in one of the world's most powerful nations at the water's edge for much of his life, at the very peak of British sea power. As any great artist will do, he embraced the atmosphere of his time and presented it through his work. Turner's talent was such that he went a step further and also redefined marine painting, and perhaps all painting, forever," said Daniel Finamore, PEM's Russell W. Knight Curator of Maritime Art and History.