The British landscape tradition is epitomized by two great 19th-century painters -- John Constable, with his country scenes under billowing whipped-cream clouds, and J.M.W. Turner with his chromatic ecstasies. Yet both men owe a great deal to a much less well-known British artist, Richard Wilson (ca. 1713-1782). In fact, Constable and Turner both owned works by him and hailed his art. The work of Richard Wilson is really the hinge between continental landscapes in the Grand Manner and later British romantic nature scenes. You can see this for yourself in the pleasantly didactic loan show, "Richard Wilson and the British Arcadia," Apr. 29-June 25, 2010, at Richard L. Feigen & Co. on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. It’s a great opportunity to see about a dozen of Wilson’s landscapes from throughout his career, plus four works by 17th-century artists that influenced him the most.
"Richard Wilson and the British Arcadia," Apr. 29-June 25, 2010, at Richard L. Feigen & Co., 34 East 69th Street, New York, N.Y. 100
N.F. KARLINS is a New York critic and art historian.