Inness, George

Inness, George

(ĭn`ĭs), 1825–94, American landscape painter, b. Newburgh, N.Y. His father intended Inness to be a grocer, but he showed artistic talent at an early age and was apprenticed to an engraver. In 1845 he opened a studio in New York City, devoting himself to painting, and two years later with a friend's aid was able to go to Rome. He made a subsequent visit to Rome in 1851, and in 1854 he and his wife went to Paris. On their return they settled in Medfield, Mass. There Inness painted many of his best-known canvases. In later life he enjoyed a high reputation, maintaining studios in New York City and in Montclair, N.J., where most of his last 20 years were spent. The early work of Inness is in the manner of the Hudson River schoolHudson River school,
group of American landscape painters, working from 1825 to 1875. The 19th-century romantic movements of England, Germany, and France were introduced to the United States by such writers as Washington Irving and James Fenimore Cooper.
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. His panoramic Peace and Plenty (Metropolitan Mus.) is characteristic of this period. But in a short time he discovered his own personal style, which became simplified, freer, more intimate, and richer in color. In the landscapes of the 1880s and 90s, edges frequently dissolve into the air, merging in a painterly haze. In these later works his subjects, covering a wide range of light effects, became a vehicle for the expression of a romantic mood. Inness was a Swedenborgian and consistently sought the mystical in nature. Among his principal works are Rainbow after a Storm and Millpond (Art Inst., Chicago); Delaware Valley, Autumn Oaks, and Evening—Medfield, Mass. (Metropolitan Mus.); June (1882; Brooklyn Mus., N.Y.); and Georgia Pines and Niagara (National Gall. of Art, Washington, D.C.). Many of his other works are in the collection of the Montclair Art Museum. Inness died in Scotland.

Bibliography

See his Life, Art and Letters, introd. by E. Daingerfield (1969); study by A. Werner (1973).

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Inness, George

(1825–94) painter; born near Newburgh, N.Y. His family moved to Newark, N.J. (1829), where his schooling was interrupted by epilepsy. He traveled often to Europe (1847–74), and finally settled in Montclair, N.J. (1887). His early work was related to the Hudson River School, as in Peace and Plenty (1865), but by the 1890s he had developed an expressive approach similar to impressionism with such paintings as his haunting view of trees and water, The Home of the Heron (1893).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.