JMW Turner’s paintings return to Britain after more than 100 years

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The Turner on Tour exhibition features Turner’s oil paintings Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening, back in Britain, where they were last seen in 1911.

The paintings left Britain for New York in 1914, where they were exhibited at the Knoedler Gallery and purchased by American industrialist Henry Clay Frick that same year, and have remained in the United States ever since.

Jacob Rothschild’s Head of Curatorial Affairs at the National Gallery, Christine Riding, said: “I am delighted that these wonderful paintings by Turner, one of Britain’s most beloved artists, are being presented for the first time in more than 100 years and will be presented on be seen in Trafalgar Square where they are sure to be very popular.

A woman looks at the press view for the Turner on Tour exhibition at the National Gallery, London. Picture date: Tuesday November 1, 2022. PA Photo. Photo credit should read: James Manning/PA Wire

“The National Gallery was home to the Turner legacy, so this is the perfect place to revisit such masterpieces in person.”

Port of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening demonstrate Turner’s fascination with the subject of ports and harbors. Exhibited at the Royal Academy in 1825 and 1826 respectively, the paintings represent the result of Turner’s regular sketching tours of Europe, which were central to his reputation as an itinerant artist.

Turner twice visited the French fishing port of Dieppe in Normandy in the early 1820s before painting Port of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile in his London studio.

He also later visited Cologne, Germany – a former Roman colony and longtime commercial, educational, and religious center – before painting Cologne, the Arrival of a Parcel Ship: Evening.

Although Turner exhibited Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile at the Royal Academy in 1825, he actually completed it and later dated it to 1826, the same year as its counterpart Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening was also at the Royal Academy shown.

Both paintings are intended to demonstrate Turner’s approach to colour, light and brushwork.

They also borrow the compositional format of Claude Lorrain’s great seaports and demonstrate the Claudian process of using light to create an aerial perspective, with the haze generated by the sunlight losing focus and local color to distant objects and merging with them Heaven.

The Director of the National Gallery, Dr. Gabriele Finaldi, said: “By special circumstances, Turner’s glorious river and harbor scenes from the Frick Collection come to London for an unprecedented exhibition at the National Gallery.

“I am enormously grateful to our friends at Frick for sharing their masterpieces with us.”

Harbor of Dieppe: Changement de Domicile and Cologne, the Arrival of a Packet-Boat: Evening are both on view as part of the Turner on Tour exhibition at the National Gallery from tomorrow (3 November) to 19 February.

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