Accompanying the exhibition is a book edited by Museum senior vice president for Curatorial Affairs Nicholas Bell.
The book’s format is inspired by the introduction of Britain’s seminal visual artist to new audiences by the exhibition J.M.W. Turner: Watercolors from Tate. Following an introductory essay on Turner’s lifelong pursuit of excellence in watercolor by David Blayney Brown, Tate’s Senior Curator of British Art 1790-1850, an international cadre of established and rising scholars and artists meet in dialogue in a series of thematic “conversations” in print.
Addressing such areas as the evolution of Turner’s art in watercolor, evidence of rapid changes to England’s industry and culture in the early 19th century, his treatment of time and memory, and the question of how his works influence contemporary artists working today, these conversations are intended to offer the reader accessible entry points into the medium central to Turner’s development as an artist. Ranging from precocious landscapes of the 1790s to the impatient yet critical color experiments of the 1840s, more than 90 watercolors illustrate the genius that led Turner to tower over Western painting in his day, and arguably in ours.
For the volume, 16 scholars and artists participate in conversations about Turner’s painting and its continued relevance today, including Brown; filmmaker John Akomfrah, CBE; Olivier Meslay of The Clark Art Institute; Timothy Barringer of Yale University; Susan Grace Galassi of The Frick Collection; Alexander Nemerov of Stanford University; and Sam Smiles of the University of Exeter. The book is co-published by Mystic Seaport Museum and Skira Editore.
The book is available for sale in the Museum’s store and online: https://shop.mysticseaport.org/conversations-with-turner-the-watercolors.html