Monday, August 24, 2009

Inness in the last years.

The above painting is not actually from the last couple of years but it is in the late style and I wanted to include it. Because of his increasing age and frailty, Inness, ever wandering first visits Florida in 1890. Then he moves there, to Tarpon springs. When we think of Florida today , it is a land that has been developed and is familiar and rather ordinary. In Inness'es day it was before the boom development and it must have been pretty primitive in general. Tarpon springs was home to the American sponge diving industry and is on the bayous and marshes facing the Gulf of Mexico.

I think it must have been difficult for Inness to adjust to the new scenery. After a life time of sturdy oaks and broad meadows Florida must have been a shock. The sunsets were good though, and he seems to have made do. I personally feel that the Florida paintings are not his best but I think this next, abstract one is good though. It is called, home of the Heron,

I think that is the little guy in the middle there. Does this picture look like Inness is channeling Whistler to you? It does to me.

Here is another of the Florida paintings. It is deeply mysterious and highly arranged looking.

In 1894 Inness wanders once more and with his son by his side, dies at Bridge of Allan, Scotland. His last words upon seeing a sunset, were, "My God,Oh, how beautiful"

This concludes our epic journey through the life and art of George Inness, please check to make sure you have your personal items with you as you disembark. I will return to this outline of American landscape painting but I think I will take a little detour for a few posts and allow you to decompress. I will return to the art historical posts in about a week.

Images provided by, Americas largest online museum, and a great resource for anyone who wants to see great painting.


Gregory Becker said...

Standing Ovation.
The applause goes on and on.

Carlos Ranna said...


We all should thank you. I do!

willek said...

Just a great series, Stape. I was hit by the use of darks and shadow in all his work.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks again. Sit down.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Thanks. I kind of wish my mother had named me Carlos. Sounds tough.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Hey! Where you been? I was about to send out a search party.

Robert J. Simone said...

Thanks Stapleton, I thoroughly enjoyed the Inness posts. I love the way you dissected his compositions for us. The first painting in this post looks exactly like central Florida. I painted in an event at a place near Gainesville called Dudley Farm. It's a living museum. An 1850's Florida Farm where they still do things "old school". It pastures looked so Inness-like I felt intimidated. Thanks, again.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Love Inness, love the light, strenght and sensitivity of his work. Outstanding series. Thank you

Unknown said...

These were fabulous posts. I feel smarter now. And was so intrigued I ordered Flexnor's book.
This blog is costing me some bucks.

"chowdin" the act of consuming "chowdah".

Philip Koch said...

I join the chorus applauding the Inness series. It's been fun to see which images you chose for us. Also appreciate your take on his Florida paintings. It is very hard when presented with material that's so completely different than what you "grew up on" as a painter.

I learned to paint in the foothills of southern Indiana and back East. When I finally got around to painting out in the Southwest's deserts in AZ and NM I found I didn't know where to begin. I'm trying to imagine Inness painting in Santa Fe, but I can't imagine it would have gone very well for him. I think Inness needed some sense of atmosphere the more humid East provided.Maybe we artists aren't endlessly flexible creatures. On the other hand, Church and Gifford did some pretty fine work abroad in arid climates.

kev ferrara said...

I'm grateful for this series Stape. It has made me a true fan of Inness. (Another two guys Inness reminds me of, tonally, besides Bocklin, Pyle and Andrew Wyeth are Hammershoi and Hopper.)

Phillip, Inness would have made mind-blowing pictures in Sante Fe. We just can't imagine them, because, unfortunately, they don't exist.


willek said...

I was on the Vineyard with an Ipod Touch and hard to find WiFi. Only painted 1 beach scene. Too many social obligations. Couldn't get on the beach with HCane Bill. Today was beautiful at Halibut Point with the big easel. Nice wave action and sunny clouds til the wind and rain suddenly appeared and drove me off the rocks. It was good to get back and do a whole weeks worth of review of the postings and comments. Almost an overdose.

M Francis said...

hello and thank you for posting the Inness stuff. I agree the Florida paintings are not his strongest work but they're still pretty awesome.

BTW he was not with his son when he died. His son wrote a book freely available on Google Books. Here's the link tho I'm not sure if the Blogger Software will accept it:

If not just Google The art and Letters of George Inness.

Jan Blencowe said...

I enjoyed this series of posts so much and leasrned a lot, too!

Thank you for exploring the idea that a greta landscape doesn't have to "paint the day".

Many plein air painters hold "painting the day" , (a very literal record of topography, lighting,values, color and placement of objects as they occure in the scene before them) as their very highest goal and achievement. As a plein air painter myself I have found that rather narrow, but have often been chided by other plein air painters from straying from the scene as presented. Even having some say that I was not plein air painting, but merely painting outdoors. Hmmmm. Never really knew what to make of that.

Painting that Day is sometimes what I do but my highest goal and value runs more with the likes of Inness and his desire to expressatmosphere, emotional content, poetry, spirituality.

I was also pleasantly surprised that you embraced Inness "decorative" leanings rather than condeming them. Usually when someone comments that a landscape painting is "decorative" it not a compliment, it's a criticisim, meaningh again that they have strayed too far from portraying the scene in a more believable literal manner.

I gained so much deep insight form your commentary and I feel better about my own paintings now too, so THANK YOU!!!