Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775–1851) was one of the greatest British artists of the nineteenth century. His paintings are revered for their spectacular effects of light and color, and have influenced generations of artists. His late work, created between 1835 and 1850, articulated a radical vision that was heedless of public reaction, and explored such themes as the rise and fall of civilizations, the natural and industrial worlds, and religious and cultural mythology.
Bringing together more than sixty oil paintings and watercolors from a host of international lenders, J. M. W. Turner: Painting Set Free is the first major exhibition devoted to Turner’s achievements during his final period of productivity, when some of his most iconic works were created. Challenging myths, assumptions, and interpretations that have grown around his later work, this show reveals a painter distinguished by the broad scope of his knowledge and imagination, as well as his experimental techniques, processes, and use of materials. It will also provide the unique opportunity for San Francisco audiences to experience firsthand some of the masterpieces featured this year in Mike Leigh’s critically acclaimed film Mr. Turner (Sony Classics, 2014).