George Inness in the Chicago Art Institute

George Inness. Catskill Mountains. 1870. Oil on Canvas. Chicago Art Institute, Edward Butler Collection.
In the American Wing in the Chicago Art Institute, first floor, there's a little room that you walk through to get to the larger gallery. On one side is the Gifford and on the other, three Inness paintings. The first day I visited I spent time on my knees in front of this painting so I could see the application of paint up close. To the right of this is an older Inness and I could see the weave of the canvas clearly under the entire painting. On this one, the weave was rarely visible beneath the thicker application of paint.

The second day I sat on the bench in front of this painting and sketched it to think through the paint application, the composition and the arrangement of values in the painting.

I was trying to figure out how he conveyed the atmosphere. It looks as if he painted a milky, creamy glaze over a blue background and wiped it back in areas. Naturally I took close-ups. Here are a couple of the mountain:


Deborah Paris said…
Great to see this closeup! Which Inness was to the right of this one?
Lisa McShane said…
Hi Deborah -
To the right of it is his 1849, The Old Mill. You can see it here:

To the left is Inness' Etretat, Normandy, 1874/75 which I'll write about next.
Deborah Paris said…
Interesting. Inness went back to using very thin paint in the 1890s in the great late landscapes.
I wish i could have been there with you. What a wonderful sky!
I was just on the Chicago Art Institute website. They have a fantastic zoom feature (not for this painting, unfortunately). But for Early Morning Tarpon Springs, you would need a magnifying glass to get that close. The tree edges are seriously fuzzy. I don't think I have a brush that would make that kind of mark. An egbert maybe? On one leafless tree, it looks like hair on the canvas adds to the effect of branches! Also there are 3 Innesses on the San Francisco museums site that can be zoomed!
gohorseman said…
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