George Innes and the Visionary Landscape

George Innes and the Visionary Landscape


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George Innes and the Visionary Landscape by Adrienne Baxter Bell, Sa, National Academy of Design, Adrienne Baxter Bell

The landscape painter George Inness (1825-1894) was one of the foremost American artists of his generation. Born in Newburgh, New York, Inness studied the works of the old masters and, as a young man, painted in the reigning style of the Hudson River School. Within a few years, however, he found himself more attuned to the gestural, expressive approach of the Barbizon School. He greatly admired the free handling of paint and the expression of soulfulness in the works of Theodore Rousseau.Equally important were Inness's philosophical and spiritual concerns. Along with contemporaries Ralph Waldo Emerson, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Walt Whitman, Inness studied the writings of the Swedish scientist-turned-mystic Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772). During a trip to Italy in the early 1870s, Inness began to structure his landscapes around geometric forms, a development that may have reflected the Swedenborgian idea that the natural world corresponds to the spiritual world and that geometric forms possess spiritual identities. Through these and other compositional devices, Inness created paintings to inspire an almost "religious experience" in his viewers. George Inness and the Visionary Landscape includes forty color reproductions of Inness's most important paintings and presents both a chronological overview of Inness's life and a more focused treatment of the artist's main philosophical and religious preoccupations. It suggests resonances between Inness's visionary landscapes and the concurrent efforts, on the part of the psychologist/philosopher William James (1842-1910), to validate the existence of mystical states of mind. It shows Inness to have anticipated many of the most important tenets of modernism, an achievement that continues to inspire contemporary audiences. 40 illustrations in color, 12 in black and white.

About the Author:
: Adrienne Baxter Bell, Guest Curator at the National Academy of Design, is a Ph.D. candidate in American art history at Columbia University in New York. She is the author of Painting Philosophy: George Inness, William James, and the Metaphysical Landscape and has received degrees in art history from Smith College, The Institute of Fine Arts of New York University, and Columbia University.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807615256
Publisher: Braziller, George Inc.
Publication date: 11/10/2003
Edition description: 1ST
Pages: 174
Product dimensions: 8.62(w) x 9.68(h) x 0.91(d)

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