Turner 250

Marking the 250th anniversary of J. M. W. Turner’s birth, this exhibition brings together paintings, drawings, and prints from the YCBA’s rich collections of the artist’s works. Born to modest, lower-middle-class parents in the heart of London, Turner rose to become the preeminent landscape painter of his generation and today is regarded among the most important of all British artists.

The first exhibition at the YCBA devoted to the artist’s work in more than thirty years, Turner 250 will present major oil paintings, including Dort (1818) and Staffa, Fingal’s Cave (1831–32), alongside pioneering watercolors such as Mer de Glace (1803), highlighting the artist’s mastery and ambition across media. In addition, private oil sketches, color studies, and the only complete Turner sketchbook outside of Britain will shed light on his artistic practice. Turner 250 will also explore the artist’s deep engagement with printmaking, drawing from the YCBA’s collection of more than 3,000 prints Turner made during his lifetime. This broad-ranging show will encompass the full scope of Turner’s prolific career and reveal what John Constable called his “wonderful range of mind.”

Top image
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Mer de Glace, in the Valley of Chamouni, Switzerland (detail), 1803, Watercolor, graphite, gum, scraping out and stopping out on moderately thick, slightly textured, cream wove paper mounted on thick, smooth wove paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection