The Late Works of J. M. W. Turner


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The Artist and his Critics

Sam Smiles

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Price: $45.00
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An exploration of Turner’s final, vital years, including new readings of some of his most significant paintings

The paintings and drawings Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) produced from 1835 to his death are seen by many as his most audacious and compelling work, a highly personal final vision that ranks with the late styles of the greatest artists. In this study, Sam Smiles shows how a richer account of Turner’s achievement can be presented once his historical circumstances are given proper attention. He discusses the style and subject matter of Turner’s later oil paintings and watercolours, his commercial dealings and his relations with patrons; he examines the artist’s critical reception and scrutinises accounts of his physical and mental health to see what can be reliably said about this last phase of creative endeavour. Emerging from this study is an artist who used his final years to consolidate the principles that had motivated him throughout his career.

Distributed for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art

Sam Smiles is honorary professor at the University of Exeter.

“[A] scholarly and impeccably detailed examination of Turner's art and its critical reception … presenting a rich, absorbing account of his later career. [Sam Smiles] challenges the hackneyed image of Turner in his last two decades … in its place he builds a complex picture of a man who, despite his gradually declining health and the diminishing output of his very last years, retained a keen interest in the world around him, in the marketing of his art and in his posthumous reputation.”— Barry Venning, Turner Society News

“[A] probing and revelatory study . . . This attractive book presents a serious, deeply researched, and well-argued assessment of Turner’s remarkable final phase. Including outstanding, mostly color illustrations and endnotes, this appreciation of Turner and his art is a valuable contribution.”—W. S. Rodner, Choice
ISBN: 9781913107161
Publication Date: October 13, 2020
Publishing Partner: Distributed for the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art
312 pages, 8.5 x 10.5
160 color + b/w illus.
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