Two oil paintings by one of Britain’s greatest artists that have not been seen in the UK for over 100 years will go on display at the National Gallery later this year.
JMW Turner’s paintings are European scenes that feature the artist’s characteristic expanses of water and sky.
Harbor of Dieppe: Change of Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening were acquired by American industrialist Henry Clay Frick in 1914 and have remained in the United States ever since.
The paintings are on loan for the first time from the Frick Collection in New York and will be on display as part of the National Gallery’s Turner on Tour exhibition this winter.
Painted in the mid-1820s, the works reflect Turner’s fascination with ports and harbors as dynamic places of transition, depicted in both oil and watercolor throughout his career. He traveled extensively across Europe, drawing in sketchbooks and producing paintings in his studio in England.
Turner visited the French fishing port of Dieppe, Normandy, twice in the early 1820s before painting Harbor of Dieppe: Change of Domicile in his London studio. Both paintings were exhibited at the Royal Academy in the 1820s. Almost a century later they were exhibited at the Knoedler Gallery in New York, after which they were purchased by Frick.
Gabriele Finaldi, Director of the National Gallery, said: “Turner’s glorious river and harbor scenes from the Frick Collection arrive, under special circumstances, in London for an unprecedented exhibition at the National Gallery. I am extremely grateful to our friends at The Frick for sharing their masterpieces with us.
Turner was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy at 24. He was acclaimed by his contemporaries and attacked by critics, especially for his later, more abstract and experimental works. When he died of cholera at the age of 76, he was a wealthy man. He bequeathed much of his work to the nation, and the majority of the paintings are now at Tate Britain.
Turner on Tour is one of three free exhibitions at the National Gallery that features paintings rarely on loan from American institutions. Gainsborough’s Blue Boy closes mid-May; Picasso Ingres: Face to Face runs from June to October; and Turner on Tour runs from November to February 2023.