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Creator:
John Constable, 1776–1837, British
Title:
Cloud Study
Date:
1821
Medium:
Oil on paper laid on board
Dimensions:
Support (PTG): 9 3/4 x 11 7/8 inches (24.8 x 30.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection
Copyright Status:
Public Domain
Accession Number:
B1981.25.155
Classification:
Paintings
Collection:
Paintings and Sculpture
Subject Terms:
birds | blue | brush strokes | clouds | flat | gray | meteorology | motion | science | study (visual work) | texture | white
Access:
On view
Curatorial Comment:
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Constable’s cloud studies represent perhaps one of the most original and surprising aspects of his evolving approach to the art of landscape painting. This exquisite example is in several respects unusual. Unlike numbers of other bona fide cloud studies—the product of hours of plein-air work on Hampstead Heath in 1821 and 1822, together with gradually lengthening sets of notes in which Constable recorded on each the weather conditions, topographical orientation, and the time of day—a narrow strip of “landscape” is clearly indicated along the bottom margin of the panel, and birds wheel and swoop in what is in effect a foreground that elsewhere consists entirely of void and energy, the intangible space held in by clouds scudding far overhead. Michael Rosenthal has noted the congruence of the larger Romanticism of Constable’s strong feeling for skies and also the regulation of light in the landscape by the predictable behavior and motion of specific kinds of cloud, with lines from “Prelude VI,” by Wordsworth, that appear to reflect a comparable and quintessentially Romantic outlook: “The unfettered clouds and regions of the Heavens, Tumult and peace, the darkness and the light— Were all like workings of one mind, the features Of the same face, blossoms upon one tree: Characters of the great Apocalypse, The types and symbols of Eternity" (cited in Rosenthal, 1983, p. 167).
--Angus Trumble,2007-01
Exhibition History:
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John Constable - A Selection of Paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon (National Gallery of Art, 1969-04-30 - 1969-11-01)

John Constable (Tate) (Tate Britain, 1991-06 - 1991-09)

Gentle, Rural and Sublime - English Landscape Paintings and Watercolors, 1750-1850 (Denver Art Museum, 1993-12-11 - 1994-02-06)

Canaletto to Constable: Paintings of Town and Country from the Yale Center for British Art (Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1998-02-08 - 1998-04-26)

Canaletto to Constable: Paintings of Town and Country from the Yale Center for British Art (The Grand Rapids Art Museum, 1999-10-22 - 2000-01-02)

Canaletto to Constable: Paintings of Town and Country from the Yale Center for British Art (Ferrara Galleries of Modern & Contemporary Art, 2001-02-25 - 2001-05-20)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Yale Center for British Art, 2007-04-18 - 2007-07-29)

An American's Passion for British Art - Paul Mellon's Legacy (Royal Academy of Arts, 2007-10-20 - 2008-01-27)

The Triumph of Landscape - Turner to Monet (National Gallery of Australia, 2008-03-14 - 2008-06-09)

Publications:
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Katharine Baetjer, Glorious nature, British landscape painting, 1750-1850 , Zwemmer publisher, London, 1993, pp. 31, 196-7, no. 58, ND1354.4 B34 1993 (YCBA)

John Baskett, Paul Mellon's legacy, a passion for British art : masterpieces from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, pp 287-8, no. 98, pl. 98, N5220 M552 P38 2007 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Charlotte Burns, Key Lots, Old Masters , The Art Newspaper, vol. 19, July/August 2010, p. 48, Available online at Art Full Text (H.W. Wilson) Also available at the Lewis Walpole Library.

Malcolm Cormack, A Concise Catalogue of Paintings in the Yale Center for British Art, Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 1985, pp. 60-61, N590.2 A83 (YCBA)

Christine Dixon, Turner to Monet, the triumph of landscape painting , National Gallery of Australia, Canberra Seattle, WA, 2008, pp. 66-7, cat. 11, ND1349.5 D59 2008 + (YCBA)

Mark Evans, Constable's Skies: Paintings and Sketches by John Constable, Thames & Hudson, New York, New York, p. 66-67, fig. 26, NJ18.C74 E93 2018 (LC) (YCBA)

Luke Herrmann, Nineteenth century British painting, Giles de la Mare, London, 2000, p. 129, col. pl. 25, ND467 H47 2000 (YCBA)

Robert Hoozee, L'opera completa di Constable, 98, Rizzoli, Milano, Italy, 1979, p. 118, no, 309, NJ18 C74 A12 +H66 (YCBA)

John Constable, a selection of paintings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon. , National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1969, pp. 42-43, no. 43, NJ18 C74 U5 (YCBA)

Leslie Parris, Constable, pictures from the exhibition , Tate Publishing, London, UK, 1991, p. 43, pl. 39, NJ18 C74 P373 1991 (YCBA)

Leslie Parris, Constable, Tate Publishing, London, UK, 1991, pp. 230-1, no. 121, pl. 121, NJ18 C74 P372 1991 + (YCBA)

Graham Reynolds, The later paintings and drawings of John Constable, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1984, p. 83 (v. 1), no. 21.57, pl. 262, NJ18 C74 R485 + (YCBA)

Michael Rosenthal, Constable, the painter and his landscape, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 1983, p. 167, NJ18 C74 R68 OVERSIZE (YCBA)

Peter D. Smith, Constable, Crown Publishers, New York, 1981, p. 49, NJ18 C74 S64 + (YCBA)

Basil Taylor, Constable, paintings, drawings and watercolours; , Phaidon, London, UK, 1973, p. 199, note 30, no. 63, NJ18 C74 T39 + (YCBA)

John E. Thornes, John Constable's skies, a fusion of art and science , University of Birmingham Press, Birmingham, UK, 1999, pp. 238-39, no. 23, pl. 105, NJ18 C74 T56 1999 (YCBA)

William Vaughan, John Constable, Tate Publishing, London, 2002, pp. 58, 60, no. 52, NJ18 C74 V28 2002 (YCBA)

William Vaughan, John Constable, Tate Publishing, London, 2015, pp. 76-78, fig. 52, NJ18.C74 V28 2015 (YCBA)

Pierre Wat, Constable: entre ciel et terre, Herscher, Paris, 1994, pp. 42-3, NJ18 C74 W36 1994

Giles Waterfield, Mr Mellon, RA : the magazine for the Friends of the Royal Academy, No. 96, Autumn 2007, pp. 68-69, V 1905 (YCBA) Detached from RA, no.96 (2007:Autumn)

Paul Mellon's Legacy, a passion for British art. [large print labels] , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, CT, 2007, v. 3, N5220 M552 +P381 2007, Mellon Shelf (YCBA)

Canaletto to Constable, paintings of town and country from the Yale Center for British Art , Yale Center for British Art, New Haven, Conn., 1998, pp. 17-18, 107, pl. 41, ND1354.4 Y25 1998 (YCBA)

Link:
https://collections.britishart.yale.edu/catalog/tms:666
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