The first major exhibition of J.M.W. Turner works will open at The National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) in Beijing in April, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced today at the UK-China Summit. This exhibition is the result of a partnership between the British Council, Tate and NAMOC.

J.M.W. Turner: Oils and Watercolours from Tate Britain will be the first comprehensive exhibition of Turner’s works to be shown in China. The works will come predominantly from the Turner Bequest. The project follows closely on the heels of the J. M. W. Turner: Oils and Watercolours from Tate Britain currently at the PushkinMuseum, Moscow until 15 February 2009 – another Tate and British Council collaboration which was named ‘the exhibition of the year’ by Russian critics and to date has received over 100,000 visitors.

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council said: “I have just returned from China where I was thrilled to see our work flourishing. China will be an important economic partner for the UK over the coming years and cultural ties will be vital to maintaining strong links. This exhibition forms part of a wider approach to building understanding between the two countries. As the cultural relationship between China and the UK continues to strengthen I am hugely optimistic about future partnerships in the arts and creative industries between the two countries.

Cultural relations foster the trust and cooperation that contribute to a safer, more prosperous world and I am proud of the central role the British Council is playing in bringing one of the UK’s most respected artists to the Chinese people.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of Tate Britain said: “The Turner exhibition in China is a momentous event and the outcome of several years of fruitful discussion with our colleagues at NAMOC.  We are delighted that thousands of people in China will now have the opportunity to experience the power and the subtlety of these works by one of the great masters of Western art”.

J.M.W Turner (1775 – 1851) is considered to be one of the greatest painters Britain has ever produced. Tate will loan approaching 80 major works, all of which are oil paintings and works on paper, to China. The show will feature Snow Storm: Hannibal and his Army Crossing the Alps 1812, one of Turner’s finest achievements, and The Decline of the Carthaginian Empire. It will also include some of his most celebrated canvases, most notably the oil, NorhamCastle, Sunrise circa 1845.

J. M. W. Turner: Oils and Watercolours from Tate Britainwill be exhibiting from 13 April 2009 and will run until 3 July 2009. The exhibition is curated by Tate Britain Curator, Ian Warrell, working with Xu Hong, Deputy Director of the Curatorial and Research Department at NAMOC, with the British Council managing exhibition whilst in China.

The British Council has a strong recent history in bringing great British art to China. In the last decade it has shown: Henry Moore in 2000-01, Antony Gormley: Asian Field in 2003, and Aftershock,  an exhibition selected by Chinese curators which introduced a young generation of British artists, including Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Mark Wallinger, to a Chinese audience in 2006-07.   

Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council is available for interview upon request.

Please contact Sorcha Clifford (020 7389 4889) Sorcha.clifford@britishcouncil.org or Eleanor Hutchins (020 7389 4981) Eleanor.hutchins@britishcouncil.org in the British Council Press Office.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of Tate Britain is available for interview on request.

Notes to Editor

The British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations.We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people.
We work in the arts, education, science, sport and governance and last year we reached over 128 million people.We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government.Our total turnover in 2007/8 was £565 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £197 million.For every pound of grant we receive, we generate an additional £1.92. For more information, please visit www.britishcouncil.org

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