Sunday, July 01, 2007

Turner's Painful Memory Displayed for First Time

By Arifa Akbar Published: 30 June 2007
J M W Turner was not just known as a prodigious water-colourist and landscape painter in his lifetime. He was also famed among his nearest and dearest as a bit of a miser.
But now a sketch is going on sale that tells a very different story of the artist: one of close friendship, warmth and generosity. Figures by a fishing boat hauled up on the beach at Brighton was given away by the artist. Now it is priced at £95,000.
The friend who received the sketch as a gift was astonished when Turner handed over the image. Years later, it transpired that the portrayal of the fishing boat on Brighton beach in Turner's sketchbook reminded the artist of the death of his closest friend and that he could not bear to keep it.
Figures by a fishing boat is believed to date from 1824, when Turner made a series of preparatory studies in the southern coastal town.
The work went on sale at Agnew's Gallery in Old Bond Street, London, yesterday, when an exhibition opened entitled Master Drawings, which includes the sketch and many others which have never before been viewed by the public. The work will be exhibited until 6 July.
Turner took the sketchbook, complete with his Brighton sketches, to Yorkshire in the autumn of 1824 to make some local studies while visiting his closest friend, Walter Fawkes, near Otley, North Yorkshire.
But it was to be the artist's last visit to Fawkes, a landowner and MP who had built up a large collection of Turner's work. Fawkes died some months later, in 1825, and the half-filled sketchbook was put to one side by a grief-stricken Turner.
Read full article here.
(Brighton from the Sea by JMW Turner circa 1829)

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