Collecting George Inness Paintings

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George Inness

George Inness is recognized for paintings that are unique for their structure and atmosphere. He moved away from the dramatic, panoramic style of the Hudson RiverSchool of painting and adopted a quieter, tonalist expression of nature.  When collecting his work there are certain elements you may want to look for to ensure you are buying the best examples of his work from the various stages of his artistic development.

Earlier works by George Inness have different characteristic elements then his later paintings. When he was just beginning to develop his craft, he studied on his own the works of American landscape painters, Asher B. Durand and Thomas Cole.  Inness’s paintings from this period are distinguished by their harder and more compact treatment of forms.  These landscapes are more literal in their interpretation.

After 1880, George Inness changes his philosophy on landscape painting. As a result, his style changes and becomes more focused on color, light and capturing the atmosphere within the scene. You will see bright reds in autumn and sunset scenes and gold tones shining from the moon. His paintings from this time in his career have a more poetic feel and reflect a mood. Paintings with these elements are an expression that is completely his own.  Having been influenced by both the Hudson River School in America and the Barbizon group in France, each contributes to Inness’s unique style, but he used these influences to create something completely original.  This is an important factor that makes George Inness so collectible today.

If collecting paintings from his early career, look for strong landscape compositions that incorporate skilled use of light. Works from this period have exceptional detail and are a more literal translation of the landscape. Paintings done later in Inness’s career should have a nice sense of mood and atmosphere. The details are softer and often figures are seen within the composition to show man and nature existing as one. George Inness is one of America’s greatest landscape painters and his art is highly collectible for his skill and contribution to American art history.


Kenny Ackerman is an Art Dealer in New York, specializing in Fine Art Paintings from 19th-21st century Europe and America. To buy or sell original paintings by artists we represent, contact Ackerman’s Fine Art here.

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