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  • Writer's pictureWayne Sleeth

Proje(c)t 57 : Following La Moselle in the footsteps of JMW Turner

In 1824 the english painter JMW Turner followed and documented the course of the river Moselle, from where he joined it near the Meuse, through Lorraine, and all the way to its confluence with the Rhine at Coblenz in Germany.

To mark the double-centenary of this artistic feat, rich in drawings, watercolours and later paintings, l plan(ned) to do the same, albeit with easier means of transportation and organisation. The pandemic lockdowns however put the stoppers on the beginning of the project. The following summer was a terrible mixture of bad weather and a backlog of other work, other projects; 2023, and of course 2024, would be the years where l progressed the most, following the Moselle from near Nancy, past the bends at Liverdun, via Pont-à-Mousson to the south, centre and north of Metz. Here is where the main body of my work originates - endless drawings, watercolours, etchings and a body of paintings. Most of the pieces feature the cathedral, poised above the river, a familiar figure for me ! Here are just a few of the Metz works on paper, some of which have just been aquired by the Archives Municipales de la Ville ! :

Beyond Metz, around the 'Drei Eck' where France, Luxembourg and Germany are stitched together by this wide ribbon of water, l have visited and worked around Illange, Sierck-les-Bains, Thionville and Trêves (Trier) passing through Luxembourg City where the picturesque tributary the Alzette meanders through the old, lower city, fortified by Vauban.

To date ( autumn 2023 ) l have amassed more than 150 drawings, 100 etchings, a dozen paintings and around 50 watercolours. 5 exhibitions - solo or in group shows - have taken place not far from the Moselle itself.

So much more to do. A few hundred km more to document, and quite a few 'Project 57' exhibitions to organise along the way. ...Donc, à suivre...Watch this space !

2024 will be long !




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