George Inness (1825-1894)
George Inness’s approach to painting can be categorized into different periods of development. His early style is strongly influenced by the Hudson River School: detailed and topographically accurate. After traveling abroad to Italy and France, Inness’s style begins to diverge from that of the Hudson River School painters and takes on the aesthetic qualities of European painters such as Rousseau and Troyen. These painters focused more on creating serene and broadly-painted landscapes instead of ones that were necessarily realistically precise. In later years, Inness’s divergence from the Hudson River painters widens. He shifts from the portrayal of “wild” landscapes to “civilized” ones where nature is shaped to suit the needs of society. He continued to explore various modes of natural depiction by conveying feeling through color, diffusing light, and adding human forms.
- Luis Martinez, Bates College Museum of Art Curatorial Intern