Turner: discovery of JMW Turner
Questions and answers
consultant; expertise both scientific and curatorial CCI Marilyn Laver Tate / Clore
Joseph Mallord William Turner Research, studies, society and news
Shipwreck, the Rescue c1802
J.M.W. Turner R.A. (161 x 222 cm)
Shipwreck, the Rescue: historically, this painting was 'the prize' of several Connoisseurs (provenance), all were English. So how did this major work from Turner's early monumental sea-disaster series leave the country in the first place! A series of somewhat shocking revelations will soon answer this question. Joseph Mallord William Turner
This website is largely based on a recent re-discovery of one of J.M.W. Turner's most historic and monumental paintings--Shipwreck, the Rescue. The efforts needed to uncover the history of this 'sea piece' were arduous but truly enlightening. Sharing the anxiety, torment, and excitement of this five year adventure will hopefully assist those with a similar challenge. It will also help those who want to understand how the art world functions at the top. In conjunction there are other important points of connoisseurship introduced. For example issues pertaining to Copies.
What follows is a brief outline of the website. For a more complete and entertaining rendition of the story read the book Art World’s Dirty Little Secret jmw Joseph Mallord William Turner
-Introduction (below) This leads to a short overview of related artwork from Turner's earliest period, as well as, an in-depth discussion about Turner's style, a topic that is woven throughout the website.
-Scientific examination This entails a detailed look at the painting using leading edge testing techniques. Questions are raised over contradictory statements made by Tate Gallery officials. This seemingly obstructive contribution, although a difficult matter at first, becomes somewhat understood by the end of our story. See Tribal Instincts, and Institutional Evolution. jmw
-The Scientific report unravels much of the puzzle involved in dissecting a painting for forensic purposes. jmw Joseph Mallord William Turner
-Provenance (Christie's) Provenance is held as a critical part of the art authentication process, and in turn, the level of Connoisseurship of the previous owner of an artwork becomes the ultimate test of quality. In this regard Shipwreck, the Rescue is no exception.
-Fingerprints and Inscription jmw
Butlin's Visit Here, Martin Butlin, a fêted
JMW Turner aficionado,
co-author of the
Butlin and Joll catalogue on
Turner's work, and art
world insider makes a pilgrimage to spend a week in Canada. This visit is
briefly described at various points throughout the website i.e. 'Ehrenbrietstein;
the hand theory'. The discussions that took place during the entire stay are
dealt with more substantially in the book. In fact roughly a quarter of the book
is allocated to an ongoing discourse of art-world revelations. Beside issues
over Turner's body of
legal fears, and monopolistic practices;
dialogue concerning art dealers, auction firms, and the art establishment
generally, is presented verbatim.
The most unspeakable result of what might be considered dirty art politics, was what happened to the American legend, John Anderson Jr., author of The Unknown Turner.
-Portrait of a Hero In the end - it's all about Turner, the hero of our story.
As an Introduction - we begin our story knowing full well that the veracity of the book falls firmly on the clear and indisputable verification of the painting that lies at the center of the story - Shipwreck, the Rescue. As part of the discovery process we all have an opportunity to learn about art and the art world on various levels. The site is meant to develop individual skills necessary for becoming a well-groomed collector, and at the same time provide key information about art-world politics. It is learning by osmosis whereby the ultimate goal is to better understand humanities and culture. The bonus is that Joseph Mallord William Turner R.A. (1775-1851) was one of the greatest artists that ever lived.
J.M.W. Turner engraved by W. Roffe after a statue by E. Baily R.A.
Turner's Style early Sea Pieces
Art World’s Dirty Little Secret
[xli] Turner 1775-1851, (The Tate Gallery; third impression with corrections, 1975), 38.
[xlii] John Rothenstein and Martin Butlin, Turner, (George Braziller Inc., New York, 1964), 26.