J.W. WATERHOUSE (1849-1917). The Modern Pre-Raphaelite

11 June 2008

The Groninger Museum is proud to present the largest-ever retrospective of works by the world-famous British artist John William Waterhouse (1849-1917). Many splendid paintings and drawings have been borrowed from locations as far afield as Australia, England, Ireland, Taiwan and Canada. The exhibition has been organized in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Arts in London and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in Canada.

The artist was born in Rome to British parents, but the family returned to London five years later. Even at a very young age, Waterhouse assisted in the studio of his father, where he developed his interest in painting, sculpture and Classical Antiquity. He was admitted to the Royal Academy Schools in 1870, and gradually began to make a name for himself with strikingly original and often melancholy pictures inspired by ancient Greece and Rome. His richly coloured, emotionally charged images of beautiful women brought him renown throughout the British Empire and at the World Expositions of the 1890s and 1900s. His themes, which he took largely from such authors as Ovid, Keats, Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Tennyson, Shelley and Dante, reflect his ardent passion for women, water, nature, love and death, frequently with sinister undertones that hint at his fascination with the underworld. His captivating scenes include depictions of Circe, Miranda, The Lady of Shalott, Cleopatra, Lamia, Mariamne, Hylas and the Nymphs, and The Magic Circle.

Nowadays Waterhouse is often referred to as a ‘Pre-Raphaelite’, but he was also a representative of the new age, fully aware of the modern artistic innovations occurring in Paris in the second half of the nineteenth century. He felt at home in the dream-like world of myths and sagas, but was also inspired by poetry and music, and by the looser brushwork of French Impressionism. Waterhouse’s passion for beauty lives on unmistakably in the marvellous paintings and drawings that he left behind, many of which will be on display in the Groninger Museum.

BAI Publishers will issue a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition. Contributors: Elizabeth Prettejohn, Peter Trippi, Robert Upstone, Patty Wageman. The catalogue will appear in December 2008.
ISBN of the Dutch version: 9789085864448,
ISBN of the English version: 9789085864455,
ISBN of the French version: 9789085864462
Price: € 29,50 / € 45
Publisher BAI, +32 (0)478 47 99 86, www.blonde.be

AVRO Close Up is media partner of the event

The exhibition has been made possible by means of a financial contribution from the Stichting Fondsbeheer Culturele Relatie-evenementen Gasunie en Gasterra (Gasunie and Gasterra Fund for Cultural Relations Events).

For additional information on educational events and the many public activities about Waterhouse, please see this website.

International tour
Groninger Museum, Groningen, The Netherlands
14 December 2008 – 3 May 2009
Royal Academy of Arts, London, England
27 June – 13 September 2009
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Montreal, Québec, Canada
1 October 2009 – 7 February 2010