Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Valley Farm

John Constable (1776-1837)
The Valley Farm
Tate Britain, London

Oil On Canvas
58 7/8 Inches By 50 1/16 Inches


Constable’s last major work, “The Valley Farm”, is perhaps my favorite Constable painting. It is one of few paintings kept on near-permanent display at Tate Britain, a museum renowned for keeping top-tier masterpieces off-view in favor of exhibiting marginal artworks.

Constable’s genius was first recognized by the French. Theodore Gericault and Eugene Delacroix were among Constable’s earliest advocates. More Constable paintings were sold in France than in Britain during the painter’s lifetime.

Constable sold “The Valley Farm” in the year of its creation for the then-remarkable sum of 300 Pounds. It was the highest price Constable ever received for a painting.

The buyer donated the masterwork to London’s National Gallery in 1847. The painting was later consigned to The Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain), where it has generally been on display ever since.

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