Conversations with Turner: The Watercolors

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Edited by Nicholas Bell

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is widely considered the greatest artist in the history of Britain. Central to this claim is Turner’s mastery of watercolor, a medium he tackled in childhood and returned to throughout his life as he challenged, then surpassed all expectations of what could be achieved with the simple ingredients of paper, water, and pigment.

In this book seventeen scholars, historians, and artists come together for a series of thematic conversations centered on this medium. Topics include the role watercolor played in Turner’s practice, its relationship to oil painting, what these works reveal about Britain in the grips of the industrial revolution, Turner’s relationship to the sea, and his impact today on contemporary art.

Contributors include Glenn Adamson, John Akomfrah, CBE, Timothy Barringer, David Blayney Brown, Amy Concannon, Susan Grace Galassi, Ellen Harvey, Elizabeth Helsinger, Olivier Meslay, Mariana Marchesi, Alexander Nemerov, Katie Paterson, Victoria Pomery, OBE, William S. Rodner, Sam Smiles, and Scott Wilcox.

Accompanying a major exhibition at Mystic Seaport Museum in Connecticut, this book illustrates more than one hundred watercolors from the Turner Bequest at Tate, London, tracking the artist’s progress as he rivalled peers in the 1790s through to the 1840s, when Turner’s annual travels to Italy, Germany, and Switzerland fed an increasingly radical approach to color and technique. Many of these works were never intended to be seen by others, and were instead painted, in Ruskin’s words, “for his own pleasure.”

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Skira (October 22, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 978-8857240916
  • Product Dimensions: 11.8 x 10.2 inches