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George Inness artwork on view at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Scene at Durham"

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Scene at Durham" Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Elm Tree"

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Elm Tree" Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHERINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "Green Landscape," 1886. Oil on canvas

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHERINE MARTUCCI
    George Inness, "Green Landscape," 1886. Oil on canvas Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Home at Montclair," 1892. Oil on canvas

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Home at Montclair," 1892. Oil on canvas Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHRINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "New Jersey Landscape," 1891. Oil on canvas<br/>

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHRINE MARTUCCI
    George Inness, "New Jersey Landscape," 1891. Oil on canvas
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATERINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "A Pastoral," c. 1882–85. Oil on canvas

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATERINE MARTUCCI
    George Inness, "A Pastoral," c. 1882–85. Oil on canvas Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Road to Village"

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Road to Village" Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Sunrise in the Woods"

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Sunrise in the Woods" Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Wood Gatherers"

    PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
    George Inness, "Wood Gatherers" Purchase photo reprints »

  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Scene at Durham"
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Elm Tree"
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHERINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "Green Landscape," 1886. Oil on canvas
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Home at Montclair," 1892. Oil on canvas
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATHRINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "New Jersey Landscape," 1891. Oil on canvas<br/>
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE/GIFT OF FRANK AND KATERINE MARTUCCI<br/>George Inness, "A Pastoral," c. 1882–85. Oil on canvas
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Road to Village"
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Sunrise in the Woods"
  • PHOTO COURTESY OF THE STERLING AND FRANCINE CLARK ART INSTITUTE<br/>George Inness, "Wood Gatherers"

Though on a much smaller scale than the Winslow Homer exhibit, the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown recently opened another show, this one of work by American painter George Inness (1825-1894), who developed a signature style of ethereal pastoral landscapes. Innes used carefully crafted tones to evoke the spiritual essence of nature. The 10-painting show has been created through the recent gift of eight Inness landscapes to the Clark, which already had two Inness paintings that Sterling Clark bought in the mid 20th century.

The exhibition, located next to the last gallery of the Homer show, offers a rich contrast to Homer’s work. Inness, who grew up in southern New York state, moved to New York City and eventually settled in New Jersey, was influenced by the Hudson River School of painters and later by artists in the Barbizon School in France, which embraced tone, soft brushstrokes and other techniques in landscape painting.

Richard Rand, senior curator at the Clark, says Inness synthesized those influences with his own techniques to create softly modelled landscapes that had “an almost metaphysical quality. He used ethereal brushstrokes, multiple layers [of paint] and color mixes that were outside the conventions” of most U.S. painting of that time.

The show includes some of Inness’ work from the early 1880s, when his landscapes, predominantly from southern New York and northern New Jersey, had more readily defined figures such as livestock and shepherds, and his paintings from the 1890s, which became more abstract and impressionistic.

One of the two Inness paintings that Sterling Clark bought, “Home at Montclair,” provides a good example of the latter, Rand said. It’s a winter scene of Inness’ property in New Jersey, with a snow-covered field, a faint line of trees and brush, and a few buildings, from one of which a thin column of smoke drifts from a chimney — all of it set beneath a late-day sky of orange and tan.

“It evokes the coldness of winter, but it’s not a cold picture at all,” Rand said. “It’s welcoming and beautiful — a good example of [Inness’] view that nature was infused with spirit.”

“George Inness: Gifts from Frank and Katherine Martucci” will be on view through Sept. 8 at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown.

Related

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Winslow Homer was likely one the most prolific American artists of the 19th century. In a career that began as an in-demand illustrator, he also became one of the most admired and commercially successful painters of his era, winning particular renown for his oil and watercolor paintings of seascapes and the Northeast mountains. And it’s possible Homer had no bigger …

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