JMW Turner Museum

The Turner Museum is a public trust as defined by section 501(c)3 of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service -Donations are tax-deductible to the maximum extent permitted by law.

About JWM Turner

Turner graced our planet for 76 years, from 1775 to 1851, an unusually long life-span in his age. He was born on April 23, a birthday he shared with Shakespeare and England’s patron saint George.

In the times following his promotion to heaven, innumerable biographies/reminiscences appeared - in many of them it is hard but rewarding to find gems amid the mass of well meaning nonsense, operatic effervescence, even tabloid-style gossip and outright rubbish. Generations of 20th century writers made reputations and a good living by attempting to clear out the undergrowth of misinformation spawned in the “bad old days”. In truth, Turner left a magnificent biography - his artistic legacy - over 20,000 drawings, sketches and on-the-run notations, upwards of 600 oils, along with some 800 multiple-originals on paper - his graphic output.

By and by, a growing number of serious scholars begun to shed much needed light on his heritage. Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll gifted us with an encyclopedic catalogue of his paintings in 1977 and 1984. Andrew Wilton produced a catalogue of his water-colors, many of them designs for his original prints and other works associated with his master-print production, in 1979. Additional sterling work by Eric Shanes, an artist and currently chairman of the Turner Society and by curators at the Tate Gallery, London - home of a treasury of more than 20,000 Turners - has expanded Turner’s “biography”. The only major portion of Turner’s ‘biography’ where confusion still reigns supreme, relates to his graphic output. To add insult to the injury of its virtual neglect, some “authorities” have developed the practice of crediting their “authorship” to his assistants. The Turner Museum hopes to establish clarity and appreciation in this field - please browse through our catalogue platform , particularly sections entitled : “The Original Prints of J.M.W.Turner - a New Chronological Catalogue” and “An Art-Lovers Guide to Collecting Turner Prints”.

Turner was a multiple-genius - he was not only one of the all-time greats in art - but also a business genius, a self-made millionaire. His career was meteoric - exhibited at London’s Royal Academy at 15, became an associate member at 24 and in 1802, at 27, full member when membership was strictly limited to 40 including sculptors and architects. His career was filled as he put it with “damned hard work” coupled with a persistent striving for perfection. Among friends - delight of the party. Turner also delighted to cross swords with the middlemen who brought his works to the public - a trait shared by Picasso a few generations later.

Turner’s biography continues in the works of his admirers. One of the early ones was Thomas Moran (1839-1928) whose heroic contribution to the establishment of millions upon millions of acres of public land in America can not be overestimated. Perhaps his greatest admirers were the Impressionists, hands down the most popular artists in the past century. No greater homage was ever given to any artist at any time and space than the letter penned in 1877 by Boudin, Cassat, Degas, Monet, Morisot, Pissaro, Renoir and Sisley:

A group of French painters, united by the same aesthetic tendencies, struggling for ten years against convention and routine to bring back art to the scrupulously exact observation of nature, applying themselves with passion to the rendering of reality of form in movement as well as the fugitive phenomena of light, cannot forget that they have been proceeded in this path by "great master of the English school, the illustrious Turner.

Such diverse artists like Miro (1893-1983), Henry Moore (1896-1986) and Dali (1904-1989) claimed Turner was their favorite artist - in conversations with the founder of this museum. Others include Rothko (1903-1970), pillar of New York’s abstract expressionists. And then there are the millions of art lovers who flock to the Clore Gallery (in the Tate) - reputedly London’s biggest tourist attraction - who fall in love with Turner after being exposed to a feast of Turners, year after year. At The Turner the exploration of celestial harmonies between geniuses in all fields is an ongoing process - Turner’s biography is still being written as we expand our pioneering studies to explore divine relationships between Turner, Beethoven, Blake, Morse, Mozart, Hokusai, Washington and others in addition to the ones named above.