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Joseph Mallord William Turner

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; EVT 179
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.