Winthrop Duthie Turney was born in New York City in 1884. He received his formal training at the Art Students' League, where he was taught by the noted American Impressionist John Henry Twachtman and such figurative painters as George DeForest Brush and Frank DuMond. Intrigued by such subjects as docks, harbors and other forms of waterfront industrial life, Turney began a pictorial documentation of an area of the Brooklyn waterfront known as the "Erie Basin" in 1906.1 He continued to paint highly individual interpretations of the shipyard's bustling activity until around 1911. During this period, he also painted scenes of backyards in some of the poorer districts of Brooklyn. In this respect, he was probably influenced by the art of his friend George Luks, who as a member of The Eight (or Ashcan School), and also concerned with aspects of daily urban life. Turney's stylistic venue, like Glackens', was rooted in the realist tradition, an approach that Turney successfully combined with a deep, rich palette, dominated by his penchant for "midnight blue" and a "bright yellowish green."
Turney also painted at a number of seaside locales throughout the Northeastern states, including Rockport, Massachusetts. At a later point in his career, his interest shifted to bottle still lifes and vividly-colored floral arrangements, often depicted in watercolor, with quick, deft brushstrokes.
Turney spent the majority of his life in Brooklyn where he lived with his wife, the painter Agnes Richmond. He played a lively role in the art communities of both Brooklyn and Manhattan, holding memberships in the Brooklyn Society of Modern Artists, Artists' Fellowship Inc., and the Fifteen Gallery Group, to name only a few. He was also affiliated with the National Society of Mural Painters. In addition to these venues, his work was also shown at the Museum of Modern Art, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and the National Academy of Design.
Turney died in Brooklyn in 1965. Examples of his work can be found in many collections throughout the United States, including the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; and the Hickory Museum, North Carolina.
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1 SeeErie Basin: Turney's View and Today, exh. cat. (Brooklyn: Brooklyn College, 1981).