The Reality Of The Unseen

Shades of Evening. 1877, George Inness 1825-1894, American Painter Oil on Canvas

George Inness has been called the father of American landscape painting. He was also controversial. It is interesting to explore how in America of the late 1800’s his lush, moody, ethereal landscapes stirred emotion.

Andrew Butterfield’s piece in the New York Review of Books said “The works of George Inness, the American painter, have always provoked strong reactions and intense debate. Even at the height of his fame during the late nineteenth century, his landscape pictures disgusted some viewers, while moving others to rapturous praise. His critics called his paintings ‘diseased’ and ‘perverted’; a reviewer in The New York Times in 1878 speculated that Inness might be insane. In the very same period, however, his fans—and there were many—lauded the ‘remarkable originality’ and ‘depth of feeling’ of the pictures. In their judgment, Inness was nothing less than the dean of American artists and one of the leading landscape painters in the world. For a time, Inness was both the most controversial and the most influential artist in the country.”

George Inness (American, 1825-1894). Sunrise, 1887. Oil on canvas

From a review of a 2004 showing of Inness paintings Christopher Knight of the LA Times: “Inness’ genius was to find a way to reconcile theology with science — a feat that escapes many people today. His art, modern and American in the deepest sense, embodies spiritual commitment in the world without the limitations inevitably imposed by religious doctrine.”

Inness said his work was meant to demonstrate the “reality of the unseen”and to connect the “visible upon the invisible.” – – Wikipedia


“It is not the oath that makes us believe the man, but the man, the oath.
— Aeschylus

Thought of the day provided by Thomas Brown – Madwillow Creekhouse.