George Inness (American, 1825–1894)
Signed illegibly 'G. INNESS' bottom right, oil on canvas
9 1/4 x 13 in. (23.4 x 33cm)
Executed circa 1874.
Albert R. Jones, Kansas City, Missouri.
Virginia Jones Mullin, his daughter.
Ralph E. Mullin, her husband.
The Estate of Ralph E. Mullin.
Sotheby's, New York, sale of November 30, 2000, lot 140.
Acquired directly from the above sale.
The Forbes Collection, Florida.
"George Inness (1825-1894): An Exhibition of Paintings from the Collection and in Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Albert R. Jones," William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, December 1958, no. 14.
Ross E. Taggart, "George Inness," in The Nelson Gallery and Atkins Museum Bulletin, 1, no. 2, December 1958: 20 (listed).
LeRoy Ireland, The Works of George Inness: An Illustrated Catalogue Raisonné, University of Texas Press, 1965, no. 691, p. 170 (listed and illustrated).
Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné, Rutgers University Press, New Brunswick, New Jersey and London, Vol. I, p. 437, no. 476 (illustrated).
At the end of April 1870, Inness sailed for Europe expecting to live permanently in Rome. Four years later, after sketching in Perugia, Venice and the Italian Tyrol, the artist moved to Paris, staying in the French capital for less than a year. Although he mostly spent his time working on studio paintings inspired by his earlier Italian studies, Inness also traveled to the French countryside. That summer, he visited Étretat, a modest fishing village in Normandy, and painted multiple scenes of the picturesque coastline, such as the present work. While its size and overall aspect suggest it was painted en plein-air, expert Michael Quick explains: "several changes in the positions of the rock on the left and the cliff suggest that it is, instead, a studio painting, which is confirmed by other aspects of the technique. The painting is very thin on the top of the cliff and in the shadows on the right, but it is quite thick in the light cliffs and the water, with a textured quality in the cliffs and sky." Contrary to the majority of the other canvases Inness produced in Étretat, the present work adopts a viewpoint which is more to the right, and past the town. It features Étretat's most famous site: l'Arche et l'Aiguille Creuse (the Arch and the Hollow Niddle), a combination of eroded cliffs that Claude Monet would famously capture some ten years later.
Sold for $19,500 (buyer's premium included)