Joseph Mallord William Turner was born in London during May 1775. His father was a barber and due to his mother’s illness, Turner spent much of his childhood living with relatives.
He worked as an assistant to various architects, but at the age of 14 he began to study at the Royal Academy Schools. His early work consisted mainly of drawings and watercolors, but in 1796 Turner exhibited his first oil painting at the Royal Academy.
Later he built a gallery at his house in Harley Street to display most of his paintings, while continuing to exhibit at the Royal Academy. He was elected a member in 1802, professor in 1807 and deputy president in 1845.
Turner found success at an early age, finding a group of wealthy patrons who bought and commissioned work from him and funded his trips abroad. By the time he was in his early twenties, he had established a distinct pattern of work. In the summers he would travel, sketching and finding inspiration- then he would return home to develop his paintings during the winter months. He travelled extensively in Britain and at the age of 27, made his first trip abroad, visiting Switzerland, Savoy and Paris.
The Napoleonic Wars prevented foreign travel for a number of years, but in 1819, Turner was able to make his first trip to Italy. He was hugely inspired by the historical monuments and works of art and by the light and scenery. He returned to Italy a number of times, particularly favouring Venice, the inspiration for some of his best work.
If you appreciate Native American culture and art you will enjoy PEM’s – Raven’s Gifts exhibit.
The “Raven” of the installation’s title, is the Northwest Coast culture hero who was thought to have brought light to the world.
Explore the living relationships among humans, animals, ancestors and supernatural beings through works of Native art from the Pacific Northwest Coast created during the past 200 years. Ceremonial regalia, trade goods and art sold in galleries today reveal creative expressions of family, heritage, politics and commerce in a changing world.
Raven’s Many Gifts presents artworks that convey broadly shared aesthetic and cultural traditions while emphasizing the distinctiveness of various indigenous communities and their artists. The themes – Living Stories, Family Connections and Market Innovations – feature objects from Peabody Essex Museaum’s renowned collection of Native American art.
Turner and the Sea -At PEM through September 1, 2014
Raven’s many gifts, Native American Art of the NorthWest Coast – at PEM through May 2015
“Vacationers heading anywhere north of Boston this summer should plan a stop in Salem, Mass., not for the creepy allure of the notorious witch trials of 1692, but for “Turner and the Sea,” a notably ambitious, visually rich exhibition organized by the National Maritime Museum in London and now on view at the Peabody Essex Museum. The show is so good that the rest of us might consider a trip to Salem as well.
“Turner and the Sea” is a delight, a well-chosen selection of major canvases spanning the long career of Britain’s most celebrated artist, Joseph Mallord William Turner—born in 1775, he died in 1851—beginning with the first oil painting that the precocious 21-year-old exhibited at the Royal Academy, and ending with some of the swirling near-abstractions that the famously cantankerous artist made in his last decade…….”