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Considered by many art critics as the Father of landscape painting in America, George Inness was born in the town of Newburgh, in Orange County, New York, in 1825. His father John William Inness, who was a humble farmer, and his mother Clarissa Baldwin had thirteen children, and George Inness was the fifth born. They all moved to New Jersey when he was five, and by the time he was fourteen he studied under John Barker. Inness began working with printing techniques, more specifically engraving maps - a skill that caught the attention of Marie-Regis-Francois Gignoux, a French landscape artist, who became his teacher. By mid-1840, Inness studied at the prestigious National Academy of Design and by 1844 had his first exhibition at the National Academy. The works of the Hudson River School artists were inspiring to Inness during this time, especially Asher Brown Durand and Thomas Cole. Inness expressed his wish to combine the work of both painters. In 1848, Inness was able to open his own art studio in New York. A year later, Delia Miller and the artist got married, but she tragically passed away not too much time after. In about a year, the artist remarried to Elizabeth Abigail Hart, and they ended up having six children together.
In 1851, Inness took his first trip to Rome, where he spent fifteen months studying painting and art under his new patron, Ogden Haggerty. He became influenced by the Baroque landscapes of Nicolas Poussin and Claude Lorrain. He also was introduced to Swedenborgianism, possibly by William Page who had a studio above Inness’. Swedenborgianism was a new Christian movement based on the works of Emanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish scientist, and Lutheran theologian. Inness became an Associate member of the National Academy of Design, where he upgraded to full Academician 15 years later. The artist took many trips during the 1850s to Paris, the soon to be capital of art in the world, the city in which George Inness Jr. was born, a future landscape artist like his father. He came in contact with painters of the Barbizon school, a movement that approached landscape with Realism. Inness soon became the standout American artist to follow the group, but still preserving and developing his personal style. The artist moved back to the USA, this time in New York City and by 1860, he decided to live in Medfield, Massachusetts. In his new home, the painter had a large studio in what used to be a barn, and he became an art teacher for about a year, in 1862, to Charles Dorman Robinson. During the next decades, Inness moved several times from America to Europe, where he lived in Rome. He eventually returned to New York in 1878. These nearly twenty years of The artist’s career resulted in beautiful panoramic landscapes, often picturesque, but sometimes with more aggressive environments.
The painter worked with great precision in his drawings, had an innate sense of composition, and was sensitive in his choices of color pallets, making him the most celebrated painter of America. In 1877, Inness was living in Tarpon Springs, Florida, where he built an art studio. By mid-1880s, near the end of the artist’s life, he experimented with abstracting shapes in his landscapes and using more saturated pigments. His brushstrokes were even more spontaneous and personal, but often somewhat violent. Inness had a fruitful artistic career, producing about a thousand paintings in more than forty years, in his unique style which joined Impressionistic traits with Realism. He died in 1894 while watching the sunset with his son at the Bridge of Allan in Scotland.