Van Gogh •
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George Inness, born in the Hudson River town of Newburgh, New York, is one of the most important members of the "Hudson River School" of painting. When his family moved to Newark, New Jersey, Inness
began work as a grocer's clerk before finding a better position with a map-making firm. Self-taught at first, he began painting seriously in 1841 and had his first exhibition at the National Academy of Design four years later. Three trips abroad in the next twenty-five years brought him into contact with the work of John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Jean-Baptiste Corot, Eugene Delacroix, and the Barbizon painters. From their paintings, he carried away those elements best suited to his personal vision of American landscapes; the use of color from Delacroix and the broad handling of nature from Corot and from the Barbizon School.
The emotional content of his landscapes, the poetic (almost mystical) feeling about them, is related to his attention to details and naturalistic
coloring. A nervous man who had been epileptic as a child, he often found it difficult to begin a painting. Once he had put down a shape, however, his imagination leaped forward and he painted in a rush of energy, proceeding by association of ideas and often changing forms and details as he went along. Inness was elected to the National Academy in 1868 and remained convinced until the end of his life that he was a complete realist working with elements that relied on "the solidity of objects, and the transparency of shadows in a breathable atmosphere through which we are conscious of spaces and distances." Although he disliked French Impressionism, he himself created a native American form of Impressionism that is firmly rooted in naturalism. His finest works have tremendous appeal to the imagination, a faint hint of escape from reality, and a fusion of reality and poetry which he himself called "the visible upon the invisible."
The image apposed here is Inness' "June".