Joseph Mallord William Turner

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
(1775–1851)

Waves Breaking on the Beach

Watercolor, some gouache and traces of black chalk, on blue paper
5 3/8 x 7 1/4 in. (136 x 184 mm)

Thaw Collection

Item description: 

Executed on a small sheet of blue paper identical to that used for drawings of the late 1820s or early 1830s, it seems likely that this leaf from a sketchbook may be from that period. In its freedom of execution it anticipates Impressionism, which was to develop in France later in the century. Intended as a color notation for the artist's own use and not as a work of art, the subject—a rainy if not stormy day on the coast—evokes Turner's personal and Romantic response to the violence of the sea.