J.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free (Getty, $49.95) examines the later years of the great Victorian artist’s career. From 1835 to 1850, when he stopped exhibiting his work, Turner grew less reliant on description and instead emphasized the dynamism of light and color, producing watercolors and oil paintings of magnificent seas and skies, floods and storms. With its apparent gestures to Impressionism, Expressionism, and Abstraction, this is work that segues easily into the movements that would follow, but in the essays accompanying the images, David Blayney Brown, Amy Concannon, curators at the Tate, and the University of Exeter’s Sam Smiles maintain that Turner’s freedom of application and abandonment of rigorous detail was a continuation of his artistic investigation into perception and its limitations, not the invention of a radical new style. This volume chronicles a most fascinating period of Turner’s career with vivid illustrations and captivating text.
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