Joseph Mallord William Turner The Breaking Wave ?c.1832

Artwork details

Artist
Title
The Breaking Wave
Date ?c.1832
Medium Gouache and watercolour on paper
Dimensions Support: 192 x 279 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856
Reference
D36285
Turner Bequest CCCLXIV 417
View this artwork by appointment, at Tate Britain's Prints and Drawings Rooms

Display caption

The modern concept of abstraction would not have been understood or endorsed in the nineteenth century, even by an artist as experimental as Turner. He would not have intended these late, loose colour beginnings to have been exhibited during his lifetime.

Nevertheless, in each of these works the elements of the composition are reduced to the barest representation of sea and sky. These private, informal studies reveal Turner’s intuitive ability to think of landscape in terms of pure colour.

April 2005

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