Do you know what the last sentence of Joseph Mallord William Turner – incontrovertibly the greatest British painter of all time – was? “The sun is God.” The last words of a real genius! They sum up not only his beliefs, but also his notion of art. People call him the “painter of light”. They could just as well call him the “painter of the sea”. Perhaps they should go for “the painter of the sea AND WHOA DO YOU SEE THAT LIGHT?!”
From February 24 to May 24, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles is hosting one of the biggest Turner exhibitions that has ever been, focusing on his late years when he paved the way for modernity: J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free. You’ll see paintings full of explosions, fires, storms and shipwrecks where Turner overcame the mere imitation of nature, getting more abstract than anyone before him. He spit on the canvas, he smeared over it. Queen Victoria was not amused. But he created what you could call the first impressionist paintings ever. The J. Paul Getty Museum now brings them all together for the first time on the West Coast of the US!
Smearing and spit comes at an extra cost in our books, but hey, at least you can take them with you! There’s the little brother: William Turner, Collection Art Gallery, 4.1 x 5.5 in., 144 pages, c. 100 illustrations, Flexi Cover. The pocket version. And then there’s the big fella: The Life and Master Works of J.M.W. Turner, Temporis collection, 10.4 x 12.5 in., 256 pages, c. 150 illustrations, hardcover with dust jacket. Maybe that fits in yo mama’s pockets… Anyway, you’ll get the most important paintings and loads of information on Turner. Plus, in a way, it’s the fulfillment of Turner’s last will. He wanted all his paintings to be shown together. Always at your service, Mr. Turner!