Joseph Mallord William Turner

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Joseph Mallord William Turner
Lucerne from the Lake
Watercolor over graphite.
11 5/8 x 18 11/16 inches (295 x 475 mm); in decorative frame: 24 x 30 x 2 3/8 inches
Thaw Collection.
Sold by Turner to John Ruskin in 1845; from whom purchased by Mrs. (Robert Stirling?) Newall (wife of Robert Stirling Newall, 1812-1889, grandfather of Norman D. Newall) in 1865; by descent until 1978; private collection, Germany; Rudolph Zwirner, Cologne; Eugene V. and Clare E. Thaw, New York.

The Morgan Library & Museum, New York, NY, "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection", 2017. Exh. cat., no. 390, repr.
Denison, Cara D. et al. Drawings from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Victor Thaw. Part II. New York : Pierpont Morgan Library, 1985, no. 33.


Turner visited Switzerland every summer from 1840 to 1845, with Lucerne frequently as his base. This late watercolor captures the picturesque qualities of the lake with the distant Museggmauer-- fortified wall that snakes over the hilltops--and the Hof brücke, the covered wooden bridge running across the lake on the right-hand side. The critic John Ruskin, who owned this drawing and hung it in his dining room, admired the atmospheric qualities in Turner's Swiss drawings. Turner, in response, asserted, "Yes, atmosphere is my style." -- Exhibition Label, from "Drawn to Greatness: Master Drawings from the Thaw Collection"

Associated names: 

Ruskin, John, 1819-1900, former owner.
Newall, Robert Stirling, Mrs., former owner.
Zwirner, Rudolph, former owner.
Thaw, Eugene Victor, former owner.
Thaw, Clare, former owner.