Thomas Gainsborough
British, 1727-1788
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Collected by major museums
Tate, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields
Selected exhibitions
2016
Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape,
American Federation of Arts
Pastures Green & Dark Satanic Mills: The British Passion for Landscape,
Princeton University Art Museum
2015
Landscape Drawings in The Frick Collection,
The Frick Collection

Thomas Gainsborough was considered by his peers to be one of the great masters of portraiture, and by historians to have shaped the English painting tradition. Gainsborough was taught originally by engraver Hubert Gravelot, and developed a mature style characterized by feathery brushwork and distinctly contemporary poses and dress. He was also a court favorite with King George III and a foundational member of the Royal Academy of Arts. In spite of high demand for his portraiture, Gainsborough dreamed of giving them up for landscapes—his true passion. Sir Joshua Reynolds, his reconciled lifelong rival, said in his eulogy of Gainsborough that, “If ever a nation should produce genius sufficient to acquire to us the honorable distinction of an English school, the name of Gainsborough will be transmitted to posterity.”