Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More Inness in the 1860's

This Inness is of Lake Albano in Italy and was done in 1869. All of the pictures I have posted so far have in my opinion been done using Hudson River school technology. They all have that "something" which is Inness, but they are still luminist style paintings.

But as early as 1860 Inness began moving toward the Frensch style of painting and away from luminism. I guess no artists development is absolutely linear. Tomorrow we will see several more paintings from just after this year which also bear the same influence.This painting has a Dutch look to it. It also is a more ordinary place. There is a view to a distance, but it is not a singular picturesque vista. There is a noticeable economy of means in this painting too. In the tree behind the figure for instance, the few branches in the light are worked up, but everything to the right of that is not. There is more mystery and slight of hand in this picture than the typical Hudson River school effort. But the major difference is the surface, there is a rough painterly finish on this painting that is light years away from the enameled handling of the luminist painters. Inness is using the bands of light and dark to get recession. I spoke about layering light and dark values here.

In the period when this was painted Inness was living outside of Boston in the village of Medfield. So everything in this painting is now buried beneath an urban landscape. There may now be a Jiffylube right where that little man is sitting.

The "spotlight" treatment of the lights seems not so Hudson River school to me also. This is not the only example I have seen of an artist foreshadowing a much later period in their development. I know that Willard Metcalf did it in his Gloucester paintings on the trip he made there with Hassam. That might make an interesting post.

The painting above reminds me of James Hart and except for that idiosyncratic oddity that Inness brought to all of his paintings, could have been made by any one of a number of Hudson River school painters. Inness did a lot of pastoral pictures of this sort in the 1860's

I can't imagine any one else making this one though. It is obviously Barbizon influenced. The tree is reminiscent of a Corot motif and note the softened abbreviated handling through out, but especially in the fore ground . The design is quirky too. That tree leaning up and out of the picture to the viewers left is unconventional, and the pyramidoidal grouping of the trees in the background is very arranged looking. Notice that the water below that, also forms an inverted pyramid. This painting also has a lot of that "strangeness" that makes Inness so unique and interesting.

It is too hot to continue tonight, I am going to leave the studio and look for somewhere a little cooler. I will see you tomorrow, when I will show paintrings made in Medfield Massachusetts.

images from artrenewal.org and athenaeum.org


Gregory Becker said...

I want to thank everyone for the great advice. It's all going in my journal.
The last painting gives me butterflies in my stomache. That tree...Wow.
Those colors remind me of George Clausen.

Philip Koch said...

As Stapleton has been reminding us, Inness is an artist who continued to develop over time. His work stayed ambitious to the end, always telling us a great deal of the look and feel of each place he painted. Yet he became more and more selective as he grew older. His example has much to teach any artist.

Gregory Becker said...

Well said Philip

Stapleton Kearns said...

I think Inness is such a great example. He really could do it all. Not just technical chops, but personal expression, mood, and they are beautiful.

Stapleton Kearns said...

There you are, whispers!


Unknown said...

Hey Everybody!
I'm just catching up! Loving Inness. He doesn't look a thing like you Stape.

There is some animal outside my window, I'm going to go get a flashlight, and hope it isn't a skunk.

"sawkjrpr" I can't even pronounce this one.