The mountains appeal this idealist by their paradox between the aesthetic beauty of a calm day and the unstoppable power of its storms. From 1841 to 1844 he travels Switzerland in four successive trips. Murray's travel handbook does not leave his pocket : the legends created by the interaction between men and mountains nourish the creativity of the artist.
During the first of these four trips, Turner radically changed his business strategy. Previously he aimed at editing his images by printers. He now considers that watercolor can become a high quality product, providing the customer with an illusion of presence that exceeds that of oil painting.
On his first return to his workshop in 1842, Turner combined his sketches to make watercolors in mid format. He had not gone far from Lucerne and this new series of fifteen images is composed of views of the lake and of the Righi (Rigi) mountain. Passing off the initial reluctance of his seller Thomas Griffith, he prepares the large format watercolors that will be proposed as finished products, one per image. The large format allows him to add with his subtle touch and fine line the details that animate the scenery.
In this series the three views of the Rigi, blue and dark at dawn and red at sunset, anticipate by several decades the studies by Monet and Cézanne on the color variations. The 30 x 45 cm watercolor of the Blue Rigi was sold for £ 5.8M including premium by Christie's on June 5, 2006.
Almost all the mid sized watercolors from this first trip were bequeathed by Turner to Tate Britain. One of them, a view of the lake from Brunnen 25 x 31 cm, escaped that legacy : Turner had presented it to Griffith shortly after the completion of its large format. It is estimated $ 800K for sale by Christie's in New York on January 30, lot 84.
A large format of this view was used as a pendant with the Blue Rigi by its first owner, a whaling tycoon who appreciated this contrast between the quiet atmosphere of the lake and the brutal force of the rock.
SOLD for $ 1.1M including premium