JMW Turner, “Borthwick Castle,” 1818, watercolor on white paper, 6 3/8 x 9 1/2 inches, Indianapolis Museum of Art

J.M.W. Turner’s (1775-1851) profound influence on the elevation of “stained drawings” and watercolor as an independent art in the 19th century is a story being told by this Midwest museum through August 21.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art is currently showing a dynamic selection of work by English revolutionary and Romantic Joseph Mallord William Turner. The exhibition draws heavily upon the institution’s robust collection of watercolors by the artist and his contemporaries.

“Turner was a lifelong seeker of picturesque and sublime places,” the museum writes, “and his annual sketching tours took him across Great Britain and Continental Europe. Some of his colleagues sought novel sketching grounds far across the British Empire and beyond. Together, these artists elevated the lowly ‘stained drawings’ of the eighteenth century into the independent art of watercolor painting, England’s contribution to nineteenth-century art.

“The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s collection of watercolors by Turner and his contemporaries was founded more than a century ago. Its wide renown, however, is due to the singular efforts of Kurt F. Pantzer, an Indianapolis attorney, who was devoted to all things related to Turner.”

To learn more, visit the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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