Le Havre: Sunset

Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775-1851)

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Turner's sketching tour of France in 1826 was largely devoted to a thorough exploration of the Loire River, but it began with an excursion along the English Channel from Normandy to Brittany. In early September he was in the port city of Le Havre and made a pencil sketch from the foot of the old harbor looking to the tower of François I that guarded its entrance, which led to this watercolor.

The harbor's quai is more crowded with people than is usual for a Turner watercolor. Among the throngs embarking onto and disembarking from fishing boats and ferries is a curious figure at the right who seems to carry a golf bag. He is a coffee vendor bearing his portable urn and cups.

Frederick Richards Leyland [1832-1892], Liverpool and London, England; Sale at Christie’s, London, in 1872, lot no. 41; {1} (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London). Albert Levy; Sale at Christie’s, London, in 1876; {2} (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London); Mrs. M.P. Stamp; Sale at Christie’s, London, in 1941. {3} Sale at Sotheby’s, London, in 1955; {4} (Thomas Agnew and Sons, London); Kurt F. Pantzer [1892-1979], Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1961; Given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1972.

{1} Christie’s, London, Water-colour drawings, and a few modern pictures, 9 March 1872. All subsequent names of owners can be found in Martin F. Krause, Turner in Indianapolis: The Pantzer Collection of Drawings and Watercolors by J.M.W. Turner and by his Contemporaries at the Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1997, cat. no. 53 (ill.)
{2} Christie’s, London, Ancient and Modern pictures and water-colour drawings, 31 March, 1876, lot no. 79.
{3} Christie’s, London, Pictures and Drawings by Peter de Wint…also Ancient and Modern Pictures and Drawings, cat. no. 83, as “sold by order of the executors of the late Mrs. M. P. Stamp.”
{4} Sotheby’s, London, Eighteenth Century and Modern Drawings and Paintings, 9 November 1955, lot no. 48 (ill.) as “Property of a Gentleman (decd.)”; the owner is identified as J. Baer in Krause, 1997, p. 176.

Object Information

Joseph Mallord William Turner (English, 1775-1851)
creation date
about 1827
watercolor strengthened with pen and red ink on white paper
7 x 10-1/4 in. (image and sheet)
20-5/8 x 24-5/8 x 2-1/8 in. (framed)
accession number
credit line
Gift in memory of Dr. and Mrs. Hugo O. Pantzer by their children
Public Domain
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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