«The Worlds of Francis Wheatley»

Francis Wheatley. Silvia Rescued by Valentine. 1792. Oil on canvas

«The Worlds of Francis Wheatley» exhibition will take place at the Yale Center for British Art through August 31–December 31. The show features 59 art pieces by the late XVIII century English painter. It is the first US exhibition of Wheatley’s work.

Francis Wheatley (1747–1801), was a portrait and landscape painter, born at Wild Court, Covent Garden, London. He studied at Shipleys drawing-school and the Royal Academy, and won several prizes from the Society of Arts. He assisted in the decoration of Vauxhall, and aided Mortimer in painting a ceiling for Lord Melbourne at Brocket Hall (Hertfordshire). In youth his life was irregular and dissipated. He eloped to Ireland with the wife of Gresse, a brother artist, and established himself in Dublin as a portrait-painter, executing, among other works, an interior of the Irish House of Commons. His scene from the London Riots of 1780 was engraved by Heath. He painted several subjects for Boydells Shakespeare Gallery, designed illustrations to Bells edition of the poets, and practised to some small extent as an etcher and mezzotint-engraver. It is, however, as a painter, in both oil and water-color, of landscapes and rustic subjects that Wheatley is best remembered. He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1790, and an academician in the following year. His wife, as Mrs Pope after his death, was known as a painter of flowers and portraits.

The first section of the exhibition explores his group portraits, or «conversation pieces», particularly the masterful «The Oliver and Ward Families» and «The Browne Family», looking at how Wheatley responded to his clients’ desires by portraying middle-class merchants and bankers in the trappings of country gentlemen.

In addition to Wheatley’s oil paintings and evocative and delicate watercolors, «The Worlds of Francis Wheatley» will also include reproductive prints after Wheatley’s paintings. His greatest success in the print market was his series «The Cries of London», and the exhibition ends with a comprehensive display of these works. The show will explore not only Wheatley’s career, but also the status of paintings and prints of the XVIII century.

Published in: on August 24, 2005 at 11:44 am  Leave a Comment  

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