December 9, 2018 14:00 EST

American Art & Pennsylvania Impressionists

 
  Lot 29
 

29

GEORGE INNESS (AMERICAN 1825-1894)
"SIASCONSET BEACH" (NANTUCKET ISLAND)

Signed and dated 'G. Inness 1883' bottom right, oil on canvas
18 x 26 in. (45.7 x 66cm)

Provenance: The Artist.
The Estate of the Artist.
Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York, New York, sale of February 12-14, 1895, no. 39 (as "Siasconset").
Acquired directly from the above sale.
Collection of Edward Thaw, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
His wife, Mrs. Edward Thaw, Dublin, New Hampshire.
The Old Print Shop Inc., New York, New York, 1947.
Collection of Mrs. Lucius D. Potter, Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Beinecke, Jr., Port Clyde, Maine.
Joseph Murphy Auction, Kennebunkport, Maine, sale of October 1994, no. 62.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
Richardson-Clarke Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; jointly with Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts.
Acquired directly from the above.
Collection of Richard M. Scaife, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
EXHIBITED:
"Exhibition of the Paintings Left by the Late George Inness," American Fine Art Society, New York, New York, December 27, 1894, no. 197.
LITERATURE:
LeRoy Ireland, The Works of George Inness,Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1965, p. 274, no. 1105 (illustrated as "Shore at Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Mass.").
Robert A. diCurio, Art on Nantucket, Nantucket: Nantucket Historical Association, 1982, p. 187 (illustrated as 'Siasconset Beach." p. 188. )
Vose Art Notes 4, Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, Winter 1995, no. 3 (illustrated).
Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné,New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, United Kingdom: Rutgers University Press, volume II, no. 798, (illustrated as "Siasconset" p. 129.)
NOTE:
Although initially associated with the Hudson River School painters, George Inness rapidly distinguished himself from the group by pursuing a more modern aesthetic. Unlike his contemporaries who believed in creating realistic canvases representing America's vastness, Inness sought to go beyond a mere transcription of nature to convey both a personal experience and to capture the underlying spirit of a place. As the 1880s began, George Inness, along with a group of young artists who had returned to New York from study in Paris, developed a new style, combining subtle figure painting, and sublime outdoor lighting. According to Michael Quick "Inness achieved some of his finest results while painting from nature during the early 1880s." While Inness's figure paintings are generally associated with his views of Milton, New York, where the artist summered from 1880 to 1883, he also painted figure subjects on Nantucket Island, during part of the summer of 1883.
With its simple, yet powerful composition and masterful rendering of light effects, "Siasconset Beach" is an important work from this transitional phase in the artist's career. Here, Inness presents an expansive view of Siasconset beach, located on the south shore of Nantucket Island. Large scattered rocks mark the sandy beach in the foreground while low vegetation grows in a narrow band at the bottom and at the right of the picture, coinciding with the low horizon. On the left is a large expanse of sea. On the beach, an anonymous figure is shown starting up a bonfire. Over him, summer clouds fill the sky, dappling the canvas with soft streaks of pink intermingled with bursts of purple, which rake across the horizon.
The painting is typical of Inness's body of work produced in the early 1880s. Yet, his style seems to soften further, approaching the tonal, and spiritual harmonies that prevailed in his later work. His use of light and atmosphere convey a sense of serenity, concord and eternity. The forms are soft, almost dissolved in the permeating sunset color. Contrary to William Trost Richards and Eastman Johnson, who also vacationed on the island, Inness fully reinvents what he sees. The motif, the lighting, the composition, the color: all are arbitrary and subject to manipulation. Through the figure of the man on the beach, Inness seems to embark on a spiritual journey consisting of solitude, and contemplation. By doing so, Inness reconnects with 18th and early 19th century European painters, who used the landscape as a gateway to the human's soul, in search of the sublime; i.e. the feeling that arises from the grandiose spectacle of nature or the moral force of man. As Inness explained himself, in an almost romantic manner "paintings were not necessarily pictures, and it was the artist's function, even his obligation, by an aesthetic and expressive reorganization, to interpret nature and not merely depict it." (M. Quick's Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work).
This sentimental, almost passionate attitude towards the landscape frequently caused Inness to paint an entirely different composition over a finished canvas, so as to evoke a different feeling and do better. This constant urge to improve his work seems to have prevailed in our painting since it includes elements that Inness had originally painted out: namely the figure on the beach and the hillside at bottom right (see black-and-white archival photograph in the online catalogue). The reason why Inness eventually decided to erase those elements is unknown. What is clear is that he originally intended a minimal, almost bare subject matter, where the sole atmospheric climate and light effects were supposed to bring the spiritual meaning into his composition. The landscape, and the landscape only, was meant to awaken emotion with the spectator.

Sold for $33,750
Estimated at $20,000 - $30,000


 

Signed and dated 'G. Inness 1883' bottom right, oil on canvas
18 x 26 in. (45.7 x 66cm)

Provenance: The Artist.
The Estate of the Artist.
Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York, New York, sale of February 12-14, 1895, no. 39 (as "Siasconset").
Acquired directly from the above sale.
Collection of Edward Thaw, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
His wife, Mrs. Edward Thaw, Dublin, New Hampshire.
The Old Print Shop Inc., New York, New York, 1947.
Collection of Mrs. Lucius D. Potter, Greenfield, Massachusetts.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Walter Beinecke, Jr., Port Clyde, Maine.
Joseph Murphy Auction, Kennebunkport, Maine, sale of October 1994, no. 62.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
Richardson-Clarke Gallery, Boston, Massachusetts; jointly with Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts.
Acquired directly from the above.
Collection of Richard M. Scaife, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
EXHIBITED:
"Exhibition of the Paintings Left by the Late George Inness," American Fine Art Society, New York, New York, December 27, 1894, no. 197.
LITERATURE:
LeRoy Ireland, The Works of George Inness,Austin, Texas: University of Texas Press, 1965, p. 274, no. 1105 (illustrated as "Shore at Siasconset, Nantucket Island, Mass.").
Robert A. diCurio, Art on Nantucket, Nantucket: Nantucket Historical Association, 1982, p. 187 (illustrated as 'Siasconset Beach." p. 188. )
Vose Art Notes 4, Vose Galleries, Boston, Massachusetts, Winter 1995, no. 3 (illustrated).
Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné,New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, United Kingdom: Rutgers University Press, volume II, no. 798, (illustrated as "Siasconset" p. 129.)
NOTE:
Although initially associated with the Hudson River School painters, George Inness rapidly distinguished himself from the group by pursuing a more modern aesthetic. Unlike his contemporaries who believed in creating realistic canvases representing America's vastness, Inness sought to go beyond a mere transcription of nature to convey both a personal experience and to capture the underlying spirit of a place. As the 1880s began, George Inness, along with a group of young artists who had returned to New York from study in Paris, developed a new style, combining subtle figure painting, and sublime outdoor lighting. According to Michael Quick "Inness achieved some of his finest results while painting from nature during the early 1880s." While Inness's figure paintings are generally associated with his views of Milton, New York, where the artist summered from 1880 to 1883, he also painted figure subjects on Nantucket Island, during part of the summer of 1883.
With its simple, yet powerful composition and masterful rendering of light effects, "Siasconset Beach" is an important work from this transitional phase in the artist's career. Here, Inness presents an expansive view of Siasconset beach, located on the south shore of Nantucket Island. Large scattered rocks mark the sandy beach in the foreground while low vegetation grows in a narrow band at the bottom and at the right of the picture, coinciding with the low horizon. On the left is a large expanse of sea. On the beach, an anonymous figure is shown starting up a bonfire. Over him, summer clouds fill the sky, dappling the canvas with soft streaks of pink intermingled with bursts of purple, which rake across the horizon.
The painting is typical of Inness's body of work produced in the early 1880s. Yet, his style seems to soften further, approaching the tonal, and spiritual harmonies that prevailed in his later work. His use of light and atmosphere convey a sense of serenity, concord and eternity. The forms are soft, almost dissolved in the permeating sunset color. Contrary to William Trost Richards and Eastman Johnson, who also vacationed on the island, Inness fully reinvents what he sees. The motif, the lighting, the composition, the color: all are arbitrary and subject to manipulation. Through the figure of the man on the beach, Inness seems to embark on a spiritual journey consisting of solitude, and contemplation. By doing so, Inness reconnects with 18th and early 19th century European painters, who used the landscape as a gateway to the human's soul, in search of the sublime; i.e. the feeling that arises from the grandiose spectacle of nature or the moral force of man. As Inness explained himself, in an almost romantic manner "paintings were not necessarily pictures, and it was the artist's function, even his obligation, by an aesthetic and expressive reorganization, to interpret nature and not merely depict it." (M. Quick's Catalogue Raisonné of the artist's work).
This sentimental, almost passionate attitude towards the landscape frequently caused Inness to paint an entirely different composition over a finished canvas, so as to evoke a different feeling and do better. This constant urge to improve his work seems to have prevailed in our painting since it includes elements that Inness had originally painted out: namely the figure on the beach and the hillside at bottom right (see black-and-white archival photograph in the online catalogue). The reason why Inness eventually decided to erase those elements is unknown. What is clear is that he originally intended a minimal, almost bare subject matter, where the sole atmospheric climate and light effects were supposed to bring the spiritual meaning into his composition. The landscape, and the landscape only, was meant to awaken emotion with the spectator.

Images *

Drag and drop .jpg images here to upload, or click here to select images.