Joseph Mallord William Turner, Rain, Steam, and Speed: The Great Western Railway, 1844. Oil on canvas, 36" x 48."
I know I've said this before in relation to Turner, but I just can't imagine what these extraordinary pictures must have looked like to the average (or above-average) viewer in 1844. The fact that John Ruskin championed him so energetically shows a highly unusual amount of foresight.
I feel a strong attraction to painters who were stylistically alone in terms of time and geography. This isn't necessarily referring to people who were ahead of their time, but who simply had a particular way they wanted to make paintings, and either resisted or were oblivious to the various pressures of the conservatives, the avant garde, the general public, the prevailing methodology of teaching, and collectors, patrons, and dealers. Along with Turner, I put Bonnard, Morandi, and El Greco in this column.