Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Turners

At a recent exhibition of late 19th and early 20th century art, Karen Brosius, executive director of the Columbia Museum commented, "The Turners grab you by the throat with their turbulence and atmospheric effects..." What did she mean by "the Turners?"

Ms. Brosius was referring to the works of J.M.W.Turner (1775-1851) - one of the finest painters of light. He is also referred to as "the First Impressionists." For it was Turner, who 40 years before Monet, found the way to make forms dissolve in light.

"A group of French painters, united in the same aesthetic aims...applying themselves with passion to the rendering of form in movement as well as the fugitive phenomena of light, cannot forget that they have been preceded in this path by a great master of the English, the illustrious Turner." (from a letter signed by Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, and others)

Today, dear reader, instead of a biography, we'll let some of the Turners illustrate why he is and was so highly regarded. (You'll notice how his work became less about details, but the details left became more important. ) click on images to enlarge

I hope you enjoy his art as much as I did when first introduced to "the Turners."


  1. The ones on the bottom feel spontaneous and passionate. It's almost as if Turner grew in his confidence in the impressionistic techniques. The thing is that he was popular in his life and yet 40 years later the French Academy was giving the Impressionists grief. What's that about? Len

  2. I did see some of the Turners when I was in London. I must admit that they didn't grab me near as much as the pre-Raphaelites. Jean

  3. The Turners are beautiful. Is there a website where I can see more of his work? JH

  4. Hi JH,

    For the most comprehensive website, I'd suggest this one: http://www.ellensplace.net/turner.html

    Nice to hear from you, RA

  5. Some captivating work. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Wow! thank you... I never heard of him. Connie