William Turner (1775-1851)
Turner began his artistic career at a very young age, selling his first painting at just 12 years old. Throughout his career he remained highly sought-after and acquired a very large fortune from his commissions. He is remembered as an influential painter, said to be the best landscapist of the 19th century, and a key artist to influence the Impressionist movement.
At 14, Turner entered the Royal Academy schools where he exhibited his watercolors. At age 19 he got a job as a reproduction artist, making copies of the unfinished drawings of John Robert Cozens, a recently deceased landscape painter. In 1796 Turner began to exhibit oil paintings in addition to his watercolors at the Royal Academy and soon was elected as an associate of the Royal Academy, he was 24, the youngest permitted age for such an honor. In 1802 he became a full academician and by 1807 he was appointed professor of perspective.
Turner travelled in quest for inspiration. He travelled throughout England and Wales and throughout Europe where he picked up the his love for marine subjects. In 1817, Turner set out for his first trip to Italy, spending three months in Rome, and visiting Naples, Florence and Venice. During these trips he produced about 1,500 drawings. He continued to travel around England, Scotland and the rest of the continent for inspiration.
Turner continued to paint and travel throughout the last 15 years of his life. He died at the age of 76, in 1851 in Chelsea. According to his wishes, he was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. The $140,000 he left to fund a charity was dispersed amongst distant relatives. He had planned that the majority of his fortune would help "decayed artists. "
Turner is remembered as the pioneer of light color and atmosphere.