The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, with a Steamer by Turner

Wednesday, January 24, 2018
The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, with a Steamer by Turner

Christie's Old Master & British Drawings Sale, 30 January 2018, New York.

Although Turner’s watercolor views of the Rigi have in recent decades seemed to epitomize the final flourish of creativity inspired by his last tours of Switzerland, he was in fact just as attached to the breathtaking panorama over Lake Lucerne from Brunnen. (see A. Wilton, ‘Turner at Brunnen’, Turner Studies, winter 1981, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 63-64; I. Warrell, ‘Turner’s Late Swiss Watercolours – and Oils’, in L. Parris, ed., Exploring Late Turner, New York, 1999, pp. 139-152). This village presides over the Bay of Uri, the southern-most arm of the lake, which is celebrated for its calm, deep blue waters, as well as its associations with William Tell and his role in establishing the country’s independence. In Turner’s watercolor, in the far distance on the left, he applied an extra touch of blue to indicate the location of the chapel to which Tell leapt when escaping his Austrian captors. Just as significant is the pasture above the cliffs, just off center, known as the Rutli meadows, where the oath of the old Swiss confederacy is believed to have been declared. 

This watercolor is one of a group of studies Turner painted of Lake Lucerne from Brunnen, but is exceptional in being the only one not part of the artist’s bequest at Tate Britain (see I. Warrell in K. Lochnan, ed., Turner Whistler Monet, Art Gallery of Ontario and Tate, exhib. cat., 2004-2005, pp. 170-3). Like other sheets Turner used on the lake and elsewhere in Switzerland, it is painted on a cream wove paper made by John Muggeridge at The Paper Mill in Carshalton, although the watermark records the name of the Ansell family, founders of the mill (P. Bower, Turner’s Later Papers. A Study of the Manufacture, Selection and Use of his Drawings Papers 1820-1851, London 1999, pp. 80-1). 

The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, with a Steamer by Turner will appear on Christie's Old Master & British Drawings Sale, 30 January 2018, New York.

Joseph Mallord William Turner, R.A. (London 1775-1851)

The Lake of Lucerne from Brunnen, with a Steamer

Estimate USD 800,000 - USD 1,200,000

More information is here.


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