Inness and the Berkshires


© 2005 Sterling and Francine
Clark Art Institute

Home The Berkshires as a Modern Arcadia Real and Ideal Spirituality in the Everyday Inness's Berkshire Patrons
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George Inness (1825-1894), one of the most acclaimed American artists of the nineteenth century, took the Berkshires as his subject numerous times during the first half of his career. Inness is perhaps best known for representing the landscape around his last home, in Montclair, New Jersey, yet he traveled widely throughout his life, making paintings inspired by sites in New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, as well as in Italy and France. In the 1840s and 1850s he gave Berkshire titles to several of the paintings he exhibited at the National Academy of Design and elsewhere, although the works themselves are the only evidence that Inness visited western Massachusetts. Inness was probably drawn to the Berkshires' picturesque landscape and vibrant social and cultural summer community, which included his first patrons. While he did not depict precise Berkshire locations, preferring to paint idealized landscapes that evoke the region, the Berkshires played an important role in his art as an inspiration and a source of intellectual and financial support that he drew on over the next several decades.  

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