Monday, March 31, 2008

Turner paintings head for Moscow

Norham Castle, Sunrise, will be among the paintings which travelling to Moscow
An exhibition of the works of JMW Turner is to go ahead at the Pushkin Museum in Moscow later this year.
Tate Britain is lending over 100 of the artist's works for the show which will run from November until February.

The Pushkin exhibition, which is being sponsored by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov, will feature over 100 of Turner's works.

It marks the first time any of Turner's paintings have been seen in Moscow since the 1970s.

"The generations have changed since Turner was last in Moscow and it's important that the young see him," said Ainaida Bonami, the Pushkin's deputy director.

The paintings on loan will include Norham Castle, Sunrise, one of Turner's most popular works, and a self-portrait.

Diplomatic row

The exhibition follows the wranglings over the loan of Russian-owned art for a British exhibition at the Royal Academy earlier this year.

Russia eventually allowed the loan after the UK passed a law to ensure the paintings could not be seized.

It feared they could be confiscated because of disputes about their ownership.

Some of the 120 paintings included in the exhibition were taken from private collections after Russia's 1917 revolution.

It was thought some of them could be seized to settle private legal claims.

Both the British and Russian governments denied the clash related to the fallout from the murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, which prompted strained relations between the two countries.

A spokeswoman for Tate Britain said there was no connection between the two exhibitions and that the Turner loan had been in the pipeline for some time.

Turner, who lived from 1775 to 1851, bequeathed much of his work to the nation. Most of his paintings are on display at Tate Britain in London.

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