John Constable - Nature's Painter.

Oil sketches and drawings from the Victoria and Albert Museum
12 March – 3 July 2011

John Constable came from the village of East Bergholt in southern England. He found an inexhaustible wealth of motifs in his native Suffolk with its pastures, country lanes, mills, locks and groves of trees. Travels took him to Salisbury, whose cathedral he depicted several times, and to Weymouth and Brighton, where the seaside beaches and cliffs appealed to him. Constable's interest in meteorology and optics allowed him an unbiased view of natural phenomena. A completely new painting technique emerged in which the light was literally painted into the landscapes.

John Constable left his mark on 19th century landscape art like no other painter: Delacroix called him "the father of our landscape painting", Corot, Manet as well as the painters of the Barbizon School studied his works enthusiastically. Constable also remains an important inspiration for contemporary painting: in 2002, the British painter Lucian Freud curated an exhibition in Paris with works by his revered predecessor.

The selection of oil sketches and works on paper (56 oil paintings, 29 drawings and watercolours) spans all the artist's themes and creative phases. Especially the small-format open-air studies, which were not considered worthy of exhibition during the artist's lifetime, inspire the viewer today with their closeness to the painting of an Adolph Menzel, Max Liebermann or Lovis Corinth.

Mark Evans, Victoria & Albert Museum
Dr Christofer Conrad, Stuttgart Staatsgalerie