Imaginary; drawn or painted in the air.—William Grimshaw's Ladies' Lexicon and Parlour Companion, 1854
Approximate Birthday of J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851),
experimental English painter who was seen by some, such as John Ruskin, as an artistic genius for his pre-Impressionist atmospheric effects. But many critics considered Turner a foolish dreamer whose technique and eye for color were suspect. Amazingly, the eccentric and nearly illiterate artist created more than 20,000 works, mostly landscapes, seascapes, and airscapes, which he bequeathed to the English public on his death. When not staying with his patron, Lord Petworth, he lived in various London taverns, including the Ship and Bladebone in Limehouse Reach. Turner, whose remarkably executed early drawings had fetched just a few shillings, was once accused of grossly overcharging buyers for his oil paintings and brought before a local magistrate. During the proceedings, the prosecutor sternly asked the middle-aged artist how long it had taken him to create a particular piece of artwork. With a cleverly theatrical display of humility, Turner paused and looked at the judge — finally replying gently, "All my life, m'lord."
Feh. Surely if he was over-charging for artwork, the problem would be largely self-correcting, wouldn't it?