Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) evolved over his 60-year career from a provider of detailed topographical and architectural drawings to an artful interpreter of the ineffable forces of nature. Turner was a lifelong seeker of picturesque and sublime places, 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 (1892–1979), an Indianapolis attorney, who was devoted to all things related to Turner. Selections from the collection are exhibited each spring and summer in this gallery.
Take a docent-led tour of the Turner exhibition to learn more about the artist, his work, and the IMA's collection of Turner work.