Monday, August 17, 2009

Inness, into the 1860's

This view of St. Peters was actually painted five years after Inness returned from Italy. There is a watercolor study for this painting, but it is thought that Inness also had a photographic reference, because the painting has both more detail and more atmospheric perspective than the watercolor.
Inness was aware of the Barbizon school at this point, but he is mostly a Hudson River school artist at this point. However he has evolved beyongd the Claudian look we saw in yesterdays post. The Barbizon school was a group of French painters who rejected the classicism then popular in painting for a more intimate, moody ,less topographical aesthetic. The Barbizon school differed in a number of ways from the Hudson River school. The Barbizon stylists, ( I am using that word so I can include the American painters who were influenced by the French school) were concerned with visible surface and paint handling.
Hudson river school painting has an enameled surface, that "disappears so as to allow a window like appearance and the extreme detail to show. Barbizon style paintings subordinate detail to gain a more poetic look. They become more about the artist and his intentions and less about a specific location. The Barbizon painters preferred less dramatic scenery, often choosing intimate views of an ordinary, universal sort of landscape rather than the sprawling vistas of Bierstadt or Church. The Barbizon style painters ( sometimes referred to as the intimists) followed and supplanted the Hudson river school, who after the civil war fell out of favor. They were so out of favor that excuses had to be made for Innesss having originated in that style, or at least passed through it, on his way to the things he later became.
Notice Inness arranging the horizontal bands of receding layers of distance in this painting. This move characterises a lot of Inness paintings and we will see it again in other works.

Here is another Inness from the 1860's. All of the paintings I am showing tonight are from that decade. It is also a Hudson River school painting. The land along the river in this picture is all preserved and you can drive a simple blacktop road through it. To one side of that road the 19th century road that Inness knew is always visible, though overgrown in places.

Inness is growing in his ability's by this time and his paintings have lost that awkwardness that we saw in the posts from last night. Below is his masterpiece from this era;

This was a commissioned piece, done in about 1858 for the president of the Lackawanna railroad which it represents. Inness was paid 75 dollars for this piece which measures 34 x 50.
There is the beginnings of an evolution away from the crabbed detail of the Hudson River school toward a broader more evocative style.

Years later Inness found this painting in Mexico in a shop being sold as part of a lot of used office furniture. He bought it and resold it.

This enormous painting from the Metropolitan Museum is enormous, 78x 112! It was painted in 1865 and was a subject that the would have appealed to an audience as the civil war had ended that April. Inness was a staunch unionist and an abolitionist before the war. But unlike Sanford Gifford he was not in the war.

In the comments an interesting question was posed;

If you could go back in time and whisper something in your ear that you think would advance your own artistic endeavors, what would you say?

I thought hard about that one and I have decided to let others answer first before I do lest I make it harder for you all to answer freely. You can post your answer to this in the comments.

I will return tomorrow. I have a lot more Inness paintings. They are, of course, REALLY, REALLY good.

images fron and the


Philip Koch said...

As for advice I wish I could have whispered to myself,
I'd say something like- "Before a painting can stimulate the viewers' intellect it has to ravish their eyes. Make your paintings visually rich and the rest will follow."

Todd Bonita said...

Great question regarding the whisper...I would have said, "forget about a degree in illustration, go seek out a master or atelier that can really teach you how to paint. Do it early on and work hard"...I might have also added to stay away from that chick from Kentucky, she's trouble.

Gregory Becker said...

Great advice so far.
Lol...I know about those girls in kentucky. said...

Draw every day.

Stapleton Kearns said...

Gregory and all:
My whisper to myself would have been,

Find good painters and follow them around,
try to show your art and become a pro,
don't waste time studying with or taking advice from amateurs,
get the best training you can and work unceasingly,
avoid systems and true believer cults,
put butter in your shoes.

Cheryl Quist said...

advice I could whisper to myself.... "lose the detail"