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 Joseph Mallord William Turner  (1775 - 1851)

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Lived/Active: United Kingdom/England      Known for: landscape, skyscape and seascape painting

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BIOGRAPHY for Joseph Turner
Facts/Data
Birth
1775 (London, England)
 
Death
1851 (London, England)

Lived/Active
United Kingdom/England

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landscape, skyscape and seascape painting

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

Born in London, England, Joseph Turner, known commonly as J.M.W. Turner, became one of the 19th centuries most famous painters in England and Europe of landscapes, skyscapes and seascapes.  He is regarded as one of the promulgators of English watercolor landscape painting, but he also painted in oil.  Unique to him was a special treatment of light, which conveyed atmosphere, mood, and romantic feelings.

Turner came from a working class family, supported by his father who was a barber.  His mother died when he was very young, and he did not have much formal schooling although his father taught him to read.  His art talent was obvious, and by the age of 13 he was making drawings at home and exhibiting them in his father's shop window for sale.

He received much attention and by the time he was 15 years old, one of his paintings was exhibited at the Royal Academy---a very rare honor.  By the time he was 18 he was set up in his own studio, and shortly after printers were seeking his work for reproduction.

He was elected an associate of the Royal Academy, and when he was age 27 in 1802, he became a full member.   He then began traveling widely in Europe, especially to Venice, which became the inspiration for many paintings regarded as his finest.

With age, Turner became an eccentric.  He lived with his father for 30 years and had few friends and was highly reclusive when painting.  For months, he would disappear from sight outside his home, and although he exhibited his work, he often refused to sell it.  If one did sell, he suffered depressions for days afterward.

His last exhibition was in 1850.  A year later he disappeared from his home and was found hiding in a house in Chelsea.   He died the following day, December 19, 1851.

Turner left much money designated to help what he described as "decaying artists."  His collection of paintings was left to the country of England, and upon his request, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral.


Source:
http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/turner/

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