J. M. W. Turner, Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino, 1839
This July, Turner's painting Modern Rome - Campo Vaccino (1839, shown above) will appear on auction at Sotheby's in London. This auction news has attracted quite a bit of attention as of late - and for good reason. First of all, this painting is absolutely stunning (don't you agree?). Second, this is the last painting of Rome that Turner ever made. Turner traveled to Italy multiple times in his life, and even exhibited a small group of his work in Rome. Therefore, this last painting of Rome is historically important in regards to Turner's career. And finally, this upcoming auction is significant because this painting has only been on the market one other time, back in 1878. Sotheby's projects that the work to reach somewhere between $18 million and $27 million in the upcoming auction.
I sure wish I had that kind of cash lying around. I can only hope that this work will be purchased by a museum (or bought by a collector who permanently lends the painting to a museum). It is such a beautiful painting and so representative of Turner's interests in light and color - it doesn't seem right for the canvas to end up in a private collection. I think lots of people should have the chance to enjoy this painting.
For more links and commentary on the auction, see here (Art History Today), here (The History Blog), and here (New York Times article).
P.S. I discovered the Art History Today blog this past week. It's really interesting and I highly recommend it.