Joseph Mallord William Turner
BRITISH
THE FIELD OF WATERLOO SEEN FROM HOUGOUMONT
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 509,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT
Joseph Mallord William Turner
BRITISH
THE FIELD OF WATERLOO SEEN FROM HOUGOUMONT
Estimate
300,000400,000
LOT SOLD. 509,000 USD (Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

19th Century European Art

|
New York

Joseph Mallord William Turner
1775 - 1851
BRITISH
THE FIELD OF WATERLOO SEEN FROM HOUGOUMONT
watercolor, bodycolor, pencil and scraping-out on wove paper
7 1/2 by 10 3/4 in.
19.1 by 26 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Sold, Christie's, London, March 22, 1873, lot 40
Adrien de Murietta, Marquis de Santurce (and sold, his sale, Christie's, London, June 16, 1883, lot 124)
Possibly, W. Dallas O. Grieg (and sold, Christie's, London, April 28, 1890, lot 124)
Possibly, Sir Charles Butt (and sold, Robinson-Fisher's, July 1, 1892, lot 217)
T. Richardson Searles
B. Allen Rowland, Methuen, Massachusetts (and sold, Christie's, London, June 30, 1981, lot 100)
Collection of Alan Flacks
Private Collection (by descent from the above)
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2007

Exhibited

The Art Gallery of Toronto; Ottawa, National Gallery of Canada, An Exhibition of Paintings by J. M. W. Turner, October-December, 1951, no. 51
Indianapolis, John Herron Art Institute, Turner in America, November 12-December 24, 1955, no. 21
Paris, Grand Palais, J.M.W. Turner, 1983, no. 223
Tokyo, The National Museum of Western Art; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, Turner Exhibition, August 16-November 16, 1986, no. 85
London, Tate; Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario; Paris, Grand Palais, Turner Whistler Monet, June 12, 2004 - May 15, 2005, no. 9 (lent by the Estate of Alan Flacks)

Literature

W.G. Rawlinson, The Engraved Work of J.M.W. Turner R.A., 1913, vol. II, p. 254, no. 425
Andre Wilton, The Life and Work of J.M.W. Turner, 1979, p. 447, no. 1229
A.G.H. Bachrach, "The Field of Waterloo and Beyond," Turner Studies, vol. I, no. 2, 1981, p. 8, illustrated fig. 6
Robin Griffith Jones, "Picture Notes, The Field of Waterloo from Hougoumont," Turner Studies, 1981, vol. I, p. 54, no. 2
John Gage, Evelyn Joll, Andrew Wilton et al, J.M.W. Turner, exh. cat., Grand Palais, Paris, 1983, p. 227, no. 223
David Blayney Brown, Turner and Byron, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1992, p. 114, no. 75
Jan Piggott, Turner's Vignettes, exh. cat., Tate Gallery, London, 1993, p. 58, 93, 99, no. 70
Andrew Wilton, Turner as Draughtsman, 2006, p. 101, illustrated fig. 6.4
Katherine Lochnan, Sarah Taft, Ian Warrell et al, Turner Whistler Monet, exh. cat., Tate, and traveling, 2004, p 84, no. 9, illustrated p. 85

Catalogue Note

In the early 1830s, Turner’s oil paintings were finding less support on the market and he supplemented his income through the production of engravings after his watercolors. Turner had been creating topographical and other landscape vignettes for publication through the 1820s, but after a series commissioned for the 1830 edition of Italy, a collection of poems by Samuel Rogers, he became more closely associated with the age’s most celebrated literary figures including John Milton, Thomas Moore and George Crabbe (Lochnan, 2004, p. 84). These lavish editions, complete with his brilliant illustrations, quickly became best-sellers.

The Field of Waterloo Seen from Hougoumont was used as an illustration for John Murray’s 1832-33 edition of Byron’s Life and Works, and has been described as “one of the most dramatic, best preserved and largest of all of Turner’s vignettes” (Griffith Jones, p. 54). It is one of three works that Turner painted on the subject of Waterloo (the other two were for Robert Cadell’s edition of The Prose of Sir Walter Scott), and is based on the composition for his large oil The Field of Waterloo (Tate, London, fig. 1), which had been exhibited at the Royal Academy of 1818. At the exhibition, Turner attached these words from Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage to the large painting:

Last noon behold them full of lusty life;
Last eve in Beauty’s circle proudly gay;
The midnight brought the signal – sound of strife;
The morn the marshaling of arms – the day;
Battle’s magnificently stern array!
The thunder clouds close o’er it, which, when rent,
The earth is covered thick with other clay
Which her own clay shall cover, heaped and pent,
Rider and horse – friend, foe, in one red burial,
                                             blent!

In his oil, Turner resisted trumpeting the victorious campaign and instead presented the grim realities of battle. Contemporary critics at the time commented that “it is more an allegorical representation of battle's ‘magnificently stern array’ than any actual delineation of a particular battle… The group in the centre depicts the merciless carnage of war and ravages in domestic life by the confused and overthrown assemblage of both sexes and all ages which lie in a mingled heap” (The Repository of Arts, Literature, Fashions, Manufactures, &c, London, 1818, vol. 5, p. 365). The present watercolor reflects the oil’s general composition, but Turner has amplified the dramatic effect of light from the flares, and creates a blazing other-worldly inferno beyond the gate. There are also differences in the foregrounded figures, the vignette being packed with the tangled mass of bodies, dead horses and broken weaponry, but without the women who search for their loved ones among the dead.

Turner visited the battlefield in 1817 and executed a series of sixteen drawings on the spot. His power of observation and skill as a topographer is evident, but his imaginative interpretation and distinct style of mark-making elevate this watercolor to an outstanding level of achievement.

19th Century European Art

|
New York