JMW Turner “shouldn’t be idolized” because he owns a stake in a company that uses slaves, says Tate boss
Tate boss says abolitionist JMW Turner shouldn’t be ‘idolized’ for owning ONE share in a company that used slaves
- Art lovers have been warned not to idolize one of Britain’s greatest painters
- JMW Turner fell victim to awakening culture because he once owned a unique stake in a Jamaican company that used slave labor
- His iconic painting The Slave Ship captured the horror of the trade in human lives
One of Britain’s greatest painters fell victim to waking culture, as art lovers are warned not to ‘idolize’ JMW Turner because he once held a unique stake in a Jamaican company that used hand – of slave labor.
During his lifetime, the artist was a liberal and an abolitionist, and his iconic painting The Slave Ship captured the horror of the trade in human lives.
But a new exhibition of his work at Tate Britain comes with a warning that some of his pieces could be seen as problematic.
Gallery director Alex Farquharson even warns Turner’s performances on Steam are linked to climate change.
One of Britain’s greatest painters fell victim to waking culture, as art lovers are warned not to “idolize” JMW Turner because he once held a unique stake in a Jamaican business that used the labor of ‘slave
Mr Farquharson said: “We should not idolize Turner. His investment in 1805 in a Jamaican cattle ranch operated by slaves suggests that he had reset his own moral compass in 1840 when he painted Slave Ship as an Deed. accusation of the slave trade. ‘
The painting was inspired by the Zong Massacre of 1781, in which a captain of a British ship ordered 133 slaves to be thrown overboard when drinking water ran out so he could claim the money from the ‘assurance.
Mr Farquharson describes The Slave Ship as salient today because “Black Lives Matter demands that we confront stories of slavery, exploitation and genocide whose legacy endures,” but says some critics “see its splendor visual as attenuating the horror of its subject “.
Turner, then 31, paid £ 100 in 1805 for a single share in a company called Dry Sugar Work in Jamaica. But the investment was unsuccessful and the company went bankrupt. In his foreword to a guide to the Turner’s Modern World exhibition, Mr. Farquharson also said that Turner’s paintings in the Steam Age were “a testament to the beginnings of global warming” because Britain was the main emitter of carbon dioxide at the time.
“These emissions he painted remain in the atmosphere today and their effect on global warming has accumulated,” he writes. But his comments caused a backlash. Turner expert Selby Whittingham said: “It’s political correctness gone crazy. Slavery, fortunately, is no longer a hidden topic, but people have gone to the opposite extreme and given it exaggerated importance.
Michael Daley, director of ArtWatch UK, said it was wrong to impose modern values on historical figures, adding: “The problem is that everyone in the arts wants to be political and not talk about art. “
During his lifetime, the artist was a liberal and an abolitionist, and his iconic painting The Slave Ship (pictured) captured the horror of the trade in human lives
Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen described Mr Farquharson’s comments as “an attempt to repaint history and find fault where there are few faults”. The company has been taken over by the awakened, environmental and political agenda ”.
The episode could expose the Tate to allegations of hypocrisy – the ancestors of founder Sir Henry Tate made their fortunes from a sugar empire built on the slave trade.
The Tate holds 300 paintings by Turner and 30,000 sketches that the artist bequeathed to the nation.
Defending his comments, Mr Farquharson, who chairs the artist-named Turner Prize jury, told the Mail on Sunday: “We appreciate the fact that Turner was such a richly complex figure. He embodied but also redefined his era, capturing the birth of industrialization, creating one of the most powerful indictments in art history against the slave trade, and remaining more relevant and inspiring than never.