Tag Archives: George Inness

#FineArtFriday: Sunny Autumn Day by George Inness, 1892

Sunny Autumn Day, by George Inness

Date: 1892

Medium: oil on canvas

Dimensions: Height: 81 cm (31.8 in); Width: 106 cm (41.7 in)

Collection: Cleveland Museum of Art 


What I love about this painting:

This was painted toward the end of the artist’s life. We are given the impression of a beautiful day in September, with the leaves just beginning to turn color, still clinging to their trees. It’s warm enough to go without a jacket, one of the last good days before the weather turns cold. A dreamlike quality softens the edges, as if it depicts a scene viewed through the mystical glass of memory.

About the Artist, via Wikipedia:

George Inness (May 1, 1825 – August 3, 1894) was a prominent American landscape painter.

One of the most influential American artists of the nineteenth century, Inness was influenced, in turn, by the Old Masters, the Hudson River school, the Barbizon school, and, finally, the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg, whose spiritualism found vivid expression in the work of Inness’s maturity (1879–1894).

A master of light, color, and shadow, he became noted for creating highly ordered and complex scenes that often juxtaposed hazy or blurred elements with sharp and refined details to evoke an interweaving of both the physical and the spiritual nature of experience. In Inness’s words, he attempted through his art to demonstrate the “reality of the unseen” and to connect the “visible upon the invisible.”

After Inness settled in Montclair, New Jersey in 1885, and particularly in the last decade of his life, this mystical component manifested in his art through a more abstracted handling of shapes, softened edges, and saturated color (October, 1886, Los Angeles County Museum of Art), a profound and dramatic juxtaposition of sky and earth (Early Autumn, Montclair, 1888, Montclair Art Museum),  an emphasis on the intimate landscape view (Sunset in the Woods, 1891, Corcoran Gallery of Art), and an increasingly personal, spontaneous, and often violent handling of paint. It is this last quality in particular which distinguishes Inness from those painters of like sympathies who are characterized as Luminists.

In a published interview, Inness maintained that “The true use of art is, first, to cultivate the artist’s own spiritual nature.” His abiding interest in spiritual and emotional considerations did not preclude Inness from undertaking a scientific study of color, nor a mathematical, structural approach to composition: “The poetic quality is not obtained by eschewing any truths of fact or of Nature…Poetry is the vision of reality.”


Credits and Attributions:

Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:’Sunny Autumn Day’ by George Inness, 1892.JPG,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:%27Sunny_Autumn_Day%27_by_George_Inness,_1892.JPG&oldid=428214252  (accessed October 2, 2020).

Wikipedia contributors, “George Inness,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=George_Inness&oldid=975996784 (accessed October 2, 2020).

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