Turner Painting to be Sold!

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.
  • Hels says:


    I also hope that the painting goes to a public collection. On philosophical grounds (the public should own it) and practical grounds (it is the only way thousands of people can squash in to see the treasure).

    Who owned it until now, do we know?

  • heidenkind says:

    Love the new blog design! I also wish I had the money lying around to buy a Turner. That's one of my dreams, actually. 🙂

  • e says:

    That is a beautiful painting. I love the way the light hits the columns in particular.

    I hope it goes to a museum, too. Can you imagine having that much money lying around that you could buy that for private collection? To hang it in your den or something? Amazing.

    I LOVE the new blog design by the way.

  • Ashley says:

    Oh wow, I wish I had that kind of cash lying around too because I LOVE Turner. Remember seeing so many of his paintings at those museums in London? Loved it!

  • M says:

    The History Blog just reported that the Getty bought this painting for a record-breaking $45 million. I'm thrilled that this painting will be in a public collection, so that many people will be able to view and enjoy it.

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.