INNESS, George, landscape painter,
born in Newburg, N. Y., 1 May, 1825. His parents removed to Newark, N. J.,
where he early learned drawing and the rudiments of oil painting. He has from
his youth been subject to epilepsy, which has interfered materially with the
consecutive pursuit of his art. When sixteen years old he went to New York to
study engraving, but ill health obliged him to return home, where he continued
to sketch and paint. When twenty years of age he passed a month in the studio
of Regis Gignoux in New York city, which is all the regular instruction he
He then began landscape painting in New York City, made two visits to
Europe, and lived in Florence and Rome for some time. For several years after
his return he made his home near Boston, where some of his best pictures were
painted. In 1862 he went to reside at Eagleswood, near Perth Amboy, N. J., and
a few years later removed to New York city. He was chosen a National
academician in 1868. From 1871 to 1875 he again resided in Italy.
The art life of Inness is marked by two distinct styles, the first
indicating careful finish and conscientious regard for details. The second
style, formed with the expanding grasp of the principles of art, shows a
richer appreciation of the truths of nature, is broad and vigorous, paying
higher regard to masses than to details. The quality of his paintings is very
uneven, as he is sometimes careless, and often mars a good work by eccentric
and experimental devices. Yet no painter has represented the aspects of nature
in the American climate with deeper feeling, a finer sentiment of light and
color, or a better command of technical resources. He has been more influenced
by the French school of landscape painting than any other American artist, yet
his style is distinct and original. He is a follower of Swedenborg, and many
of his paintings have a spiritual or allegorical significance.
Among his best pictures are "The Sign of Promise,"
"Peace and Plenty," "Going out of the Woods," " A
Vision of Faith," "The Valley of the Shadow of Death,"
"The Apocalyptic Vision of the New Jerusalem and River of Life,"
"A Passing Storm," "Summer Sunshine and Shadow,"
"Summer Afternoon," "Twilight," "Light
Triumphant," "Pine Grove," "Barbarini Villa,"
"Joy after the Storm," " Viewnear Rome," "Washing
Day near Perugia," "The Mountain Stream," "Autumn,"
"Italian Landscape," "Passing Clouds," " The
Afterglow," "The Morning Sun," and "Delaware
WaterGap." His "American Sunset " was selected as a
representative work of American art for the Paris exposition of 1867.
In 1878 he exhibited at the Paris exposition "St.Peter's,
Rome, from the Tiber" and " View near Medfield, Mass.,"
and in the National academy "An Old Roadway, Long Island." In
1882 he exhibited at the academy exhibition in New York city "Under
the Green Wood"; in 1883, "A Summer Morning ": in
1885, "A Sunset" and "A Day in June" :"
in 1886, "In the Woods,""Sunset on the SeaShore,"
and "Durham Meadows."
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