GEORGE INNESS PAINTINGS FOR SALE & BIOGRAPHY
'George Inness received some training from John Jesse Barker, a travelling artist, but was essentially self-taught by studying works of old masters while travelling in Europe. Through books, he also studied the art of Claude Lorraine. From 1841 to 1843, Inness worked as apprentice with the engraving firm of Sherman & Smith in New York. Inness made his first trip to Europe in 1851-1852, travelling particularly to Rome, followed by another trip during which he received some training from Régis François Gignoux. In 1870 he undertook a third trip, spending three years in Italy. Inness then went to paint a series of landscapes of Etretat cliffs, in 1874-1875.
Inness is considered one of the best landscape artists of the American School. He began to paint in the style of the second generation of the Hudson River School, and was then influenced by the bright naturalistic colour and informal compositions of the Barbizon painters (especially Théodore Rousseau), bringing the principle of open air painting to the USA. The influence of the Barbizon style is seen in such works as Clearing Up (1860). Inness preferred cultivated landscapes to wilderness subjects. His more fluid contours gave way to more atmospheric works in which he used light and colour, expressive brushwork and suppression of detail to create specific moods. Inness believed that the artist's role was to capture the spiritual and poetic qualities of nature. At the end of his life, Inness' landscapes took on a misty aspect, becoming almost unreal, such as Hazy Morning, Montclair, New Jersey (1893), or Home of the Heron (1893). He shared the mystical ideas promulgated by Swedenborg, which enhanced the romantic and pantheistic sense of landscape in his work. When Inness died, 600 completed and unfinished canvases and drawings were found in his studio, only 20 of which had been exhibited.
Inness frequently showed works at the exhibitions of the National Academy of Design in New York for 50 years, and was elected a member of the academy in 1868. He received bronze medals at the academy exhibitions, Universal Expositions in Paris in 1889 and 1900 and received a medal in Munich in 1892. His work was promoted by Crayon Gallery in New York, and he enjoyed the financial patronage of Ogden Haggerty and Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Late in his career, Inness' work was purchased by the leading collector Thomas B. Clarke.' (Benezit, Dictionary of Artists, Gründ, 2006)