When he became a member of the Royal Academy Schools, Turner was 14 years old and was already known to the public because of his father. William Gayone Turner, barber and wig-maker, was so proud of his son that he would sell his works of art at his shop in Covent Garden. For his first presentation at the Summer Exhibition in 1790, the painter had chosen his first oil on canvas, a turbulent seascape. Fishermen at Sea fascinated for the dramatic light of the moon and the great virtuosity which gave the admirable illusion of the boats floating, suspended by the thrashing waves. In the future, the Master who elevated landscape painting to such a level as to have it compete with historic paintings in terms of value, went on to exhibit his works at the Royal Academy of Art for his entire life, in contention with Constable for the top spot of landscape painters. Turner often took advantage of the inaugural day of his exhibitions to add final touches to his paintings, an opportunity for an enthusiastic public to watch him transform his pieces before their very eyes.
The last decade of work by the New York artist is narrated by a rich selection of paintings and drawings. There’s a special focus on the works against the violence against African-Americans, because art can also bear witness.