The Engraver and Mr. Turner explores how paintings by English artist J. M. W. Turner (1775–1851) were reproduced through the medium of engraving. Since the late 16th century, printmakers have made reproductive prints to capture the image of a painting, drawing, or sculpture. In most cases, the engraver collaborated with the artist to create the print, so the result was as close to the artist's original intent as possible. To reproduce an image, the engraver would have to create an image on the plate in reverse so that it printed in the "correct" orientation. These prints were intended to promote the art of another artist, so they would have been seen as a different art form than an original print.
In the case of the publication titled The Turner Gallery, New York publishers Appleton & Co. printed a series of 120 engravings on steel in the late 19th century (after Turner's death). All of these engravings were based on the paintings and watercolors of Turner, many of which had rarely been seen in the United States because they belonged to British collections. In this exhibition, 25 of these steel engravings will be on view, along with information on Turner's original work, demonstrating the engraver's attempt at re-creating the artist's expressive brushstrokes and distinctive painting style.