Untitled Document

Artist Biography

 Inness was born on a farm near Newburg, New York, in 1824. The artist showed an early aptitude for drawing as he grew up in New York City and in and around Newark, New Jersey. At the age of thirteen he drew from reproductions provided by a sensitive schoolteacher. In 1841 Inness left home for New York City to work for Sherman and Smith as a map engraver by day and he taught himself to paint with oils by night.

At the age of 19, Inness exhibited a canvas at the National Academy. In 1843, he studied for a short period in Brooklyn with Regis Francois Gignoux (1814-1882) who was known for snowy landscapes and views of Niagara Falls. After exhibiting at the 1846 American Art Union’s “Annual Exhibition” (no.6) an expansive New Jersey pastoral view with oxen and figures, the American Art Union helped promote Inness as a formidable landscape painter by reproducing some of his early works and by distributing engravings of them. With this success, the artist went to Europe and he became enthralled when he studied the rustic scenes of Jean-Francois Millet (1814-1875).

George Inness was the first of the so-called Hudson River School artists to embrace contemporary European landscape painting ideals. While in Europe in the 1850's, Inness was exposed to the latest trends in painting, and he discovered the seemingly innocuous idea that the art could be paramount. His symbols lay with religion and emotion as found in the landscape, rather than politics. Inness would depict the American landscape with the suggestive technique of a sophisticated European.

When he returned to America, Inness lived and painted in Medfield, MA and he began painting intimate landscapes that utilized broad masses of light and shadow, subtle color harmonies and less emphasis on the picturesque. Being subjective, Inness observed fact and slowly built up and structured through layers of impasto atmospheres and transcendent visions of nature. Because of this, he is considered one of America’s most talented and gifted landscapists.

In 1853, Inness became a member of the National Academy (NY). One of his finest, most prestigious friends was also his patron and agent Thomas B. Clarke (1848-1931), who helped sponsor and support for years the talented artist. In 1876, after telling a Boston Evening Transcript reporter that he wanted to go out west, Inness and his wife Elizabeth finally went to California in 1890. George Inness, Jr. (1854-1926) often painted with his father and sometimes the duo worked on the same canvases after 1890. Inness died in Bridge of Allan, Scotland in 1894 an internationally recognized landscape painter of esteem.

Inness is represented in the permanent collections at the Museum of Fine Art (Boston); Metropolitan Museum of Art; National Museum of American Art; Art Institute of Chicago (20 works); New York Historical Society; Brooklyn Museum of Art; Canajorharie Art Gallery; Cincinnati Art Museum; Carnegie Art Institute; Dallas Museum of Art; Davenport Museum of Art; Arizona State Univ. Art Museum; Arizona Museum of Art; Fogg Art Museum; NAD; PAFA; Newark Art Museum; N.C. Museum of Art; Mead Art Gallery; Indianapolis Museum of Art; The White House; Yale University Art Gallery; New Orleans Museum of Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Montclair Art Museum; Santa Barbara Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum; Wadsworth Athenaeum; High Museum of Art; Davenport Museum of Art; Toledo Ar Museum; Gilcrease Museum, Stark Museum of Art and more.