switch views:
  • view lightbox
  • view single item
  • view list

George Inness

Born: 1825, (near) Newburgh, New York, United States of America
Died: 1894, Bridge of Allan, Scotland

Summer, Montclair
1877

Oil on canvas
Image: 41 13/16 x 33 3/4 in. (106.2 x 85.7 cm)
Frame: 49 3/4 x 41 3/4 in. (126.4 x 106.0 cm)
Terra Foundation for American Art, Daniel J. Terra Collection, 1999.78
Signed: Lower left: G. Inness
Artist Name: []

Interpretation

George Inness’s Summer, Montclair is a verdant summertime idyll of a meadow populated by the small figures of two boys, one standing and fishing while the other reclines at ease on the ground, where two birds, perhaps ducks, wander. The vertically oriented image is dominated by a mass of evergreens in the middle distance, echoed by the slender trunk of a tall tree on the left, its top cut off by the edge of the canvas. The work is painted in Inness’s characteristic loose, richly textured paint in a narrow range of colors modulated by deep shadows and delicate highlights. The cool effect of the richly colored foliage that fills much of the image is complemented by the sky, a mixture of fluffy fair-weather clouds and clear blue that, along with the vitality of Inness’s brushwork, conveys the effect of cool breezes.

Summer, Montclair is probably a title given later to this painting, for it appears to have been made not at Montclair, New Jersey, to which Inness moved permanently in 1884, but in Milton, New York, on the Hudson River near Poughkeepsie, where he summered in 1880 and again in 1882. The landscapes Inness painted at Milton are characterized by white skies that create a somewhat glaring light, and by especially free manipulation of paint.

Little in the work’s subject indicates where it was painted, however. Inness was unconcerned with topographical specificity, believing that a painting should interpret rather than depict nature. He derived his approach from the first works of art he encountered, as a youth: reproductions of old master portrayals of generalized, timeless nature as a wellspring of human association. In his search for an evocative, expressive landscape art, Inness was also influenced by the Barbizon School, a group of French landscape painters who worked in the countryside near Paris creating intimate images of the local landscapes with rich color and expressive brushwork. Summer Montclair, with its cool colors, dense shadows, and silvery highlights, recalls particularly the works of Barbizon painter Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796–1875), which Inness admired for their “inspirational power.”

Return to top

Provenance

The artist
Mrs. Elizabeth Hart Inness, New York, New York, 1904 (widow of artist)
R. C. Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, February 16, 1904 (purchased at Mrs. Elizabeth Hart Inness’ estate sale, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York)
Moulton & Ricketts Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, March 13, 1911
S. C. Scotten Collection, Chicago, Illinois, by 1913
L. A. Clubb Collection, Oklahoma
Thurber Art Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, 1926
Frank Vernon Nichols, Detroit, Michigan, 1926
The Nichols Family, Detroit, Michigan
Thomas Colville Fine Paintings, New Haven, Connecticut, 1980
Daniel J. Terra Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1980
Terra Foundation for the Arts Collection, Chicago, Illinois, 1999

Return to top

Exhibition History

Executor's Sale: Paintings by the Late George Inness, N.A. Fifth Avenue Galleries, New York, New York, February 8–13, 1904.

Loan Exhibition of Important Works by George Inness, Alexander Wyant, Ralph Blakelock, Moulton & Ricketts Galleries, Chicago, Illinois, March 10–22, 1913. [exh. cat.]

Selections from the Permanent Collection, Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Evanston, Illinois, July 19–September 14, 1985.

A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, April 21–June 21, 1987. [exh. cat.]

Visions of a Nation: Exploring Identity through American Art, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, August 10, 1995–January 12, 1996.

Collection Cameo, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 1997.

Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920 (The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venues: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, April 1–July 15, 1999; Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 10, 1999–May 7, 2000 (in modified form). [exh. cat.]

Permanent collection installation, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, December 9, 2000–February 11, 2001.

America the Beautiful: Landscapes from Home, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, October 16, 2001–January 13, 2002.

D'une colonie à une collection: le Musée d'Art Américain Giverny fête ses dix ans (From a Colony to a Collection: Celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny), Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France (organizer). Venue: Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, France, March 30–June 16, 2002.

A Place on the Avenue: Terra Museum of American Art Celebrates 15 Years in Chicago, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, November 16, 2002–February 16, 2003 (on exhibit extended run: November 2, 2002–March 2, 2003).

American Classics from the Collection, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, May 14–June 15, 2003.

Copley to Cassatt: Masterworks from the Terra Collection, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, and Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizer). Venue: New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut, September 5–December 7, 2003.

Manifest Destiny, Manifest Responsibility: Environmentalism and the Art of the American Landscape. Terra Foundation for American Art, Chicago, Illinois and Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, Illinois (organizers). Venue: Loyola University Museum of Art, May 17–August 10, 2008. [exh. cat.]

Return to top

Published References

Executor's Sale: Catalogue of Paintings by the Late George Inness, N.A. (exh. cat., Fifth Avenue Art Galleries). New York: Fifth Avenue Galleries, 1904, no. 120, as Montclair.

“Current Notes on Art Sales.” Brush and Pencil 13:6 (March 1904): 450-459. Text p. 454 (as Montclair).

Catalogue of the Loan Exhibition of Important Works by George Inness, Alexander Wyant, Ralph Blakelock. (exh. cat., Moulton & Ricketts Galleries). Chicago, Illinois: Moulton & Ricketts Galleries, 1913. Ill. pl. III.

Ireland, LeRoy. The Works of George Inness: An Illustrated Catalogue Raisonné. Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1965. Cat. no. 816, pp. 201–202 (black & white).

The Magazine Antiques 118:4 (October 1980): 572. Text p. 572, ill. p. 572 (color, as Summer Montclair).

Schulze, Franz. "Terra Incognita: A New Museum of American Art." Art News 79:10 (December 1980): 84–87. Ill. p. 85 (color).

Atkinson, D. Scott et al. A Proud Heritage: Two Centuries of American Art. Edited by Terry A. Neff. (exh. cat., Terra Museum of American Art). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1987. Pl. T-27, p. 136 (color).

Summer, Montclair, George Inness. Collection Cameo sheet, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois, March 1997. Ill. (black & white).

Cartwright, Derrick R. The City and the Country: American Perspectives, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text pp. 17, 25 (checklist); fig. 16, p. 17 (black & white).

Cartwright, Derrick R. Ville et campagne: les artistes américains, 1870–1920. (exh. cat., Musée d'Art Américain Giverny). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 1999. Text pp. 17, 25 (checklist); fig. 16, p. 17 (black & white).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. An American Point of View: The Daniel J. Terra Collection. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 78, 199; ill. pp. 8 (color), 79 (color), 199 (black & white).

Bourguignon, Katherine M. and Elizabeth Kennedy. Un regard transatlantique. La collection d'art américain de Daniel J. Terra. Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for the Arts, 2002. Text pp. 78, 199; ill. pp. 8 (color), 79 (color), 199 (black & white).

Quick, Michael. George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné, Volume One. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007. Text pp. 538-539. Cat. no. 629, p. 538 (black & white, as Montclair; credit listed as Daniel J. Terra Collection).

Brownlee, Peter John. Manifest Destiny / Manifest Responsibility: Environmentalism and the Art of the American Landscape. (exh. cat., Loyola University Museum of Art, Chicago, Illinois). Chicago, Illinois: Terra Foundation for American Art and Loyola University Museum of Art, 2008. Text pp. 27, 36 (checklist); Ill. Pl. 5, p. 44 (color).

Return to top

Sign on