About This Artwork

George Inness
American, 1825–1894

The Mill Pond, 1889

Oil on canvas
95.9 x 75.6 cm (37 3/4 x 29 3/4 in.)
Signed lower right: "G. Inness 1889"

Edward B. Butler Collection, 1911.30

One of the most important landscape painters of the 19th century, George Inness excelled at capturing the poetics and mood of his environs, finding spiritual resonances in nature, from its grand vistas to its quiet nooks. The Mill Pond depicts a sylvan setting. A tall tree with autumnal foliage dominates the composition at left, shading the banks of a pond, where a figure rows a boat. Brilliant pigments of orange, green, and blue electrify an otherwise tranquil scene. Through color and atmosphere rather than line or detail, Inness communicated a distinctive intensity of vision, fueled by an individual encounter with nature.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, Athletic Club, "Third Annual Art Loan Exhibition," February 2, 1889, no. 27.

New York, Union League Club, "Catalogue of a Loan Collection of American Landscapes with Greek Terra-Cotta Figures and Vases," January 9-11, 1890, no. 3.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, "Catalogue of the Thomas B. Clarke Collection," October 15-November 28, 1891, no. 108.

National Academy of Design, "New York Columbian Celebration of the Four Hundredth Anniversary of the Discovery of America," October 1892, no. 62.

New York, Union League Club, "A Group of Paintings by American Artists Accepted for the Columbian Exposition 1893," March 9-11, 1893, no. 15.

Chicago, World's Columbian Exposition, May 1-October 31, 1893, no. 606.

New York, Union League Club, "The Paintings of Two Americans," March 10-12, 1898, no. 24.

Paris, Exposition Universelle, "Catalogue illustre officiel de l'Exposition decennale des beaux-arts, 1889 a 1900," April 15-November 5, 1900, no. 166.

New York, Lotos Club, "Exposition of Paintings from the Collection of Mr. Emerson McMillin," March 29-31, 1902, no. 11.

Chicago, Henry Reinhardt Galleries, "An Exhibition of Eighteen Pictures by the American Master of Landscape Painting, the late George Inness, N.A.," 1911, no. 2.

Des Moines Art Center, "The Painting of Light," 1960, no. 17.

Albi, France, Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, "Tresors Impressionistes du Musee de Chicago," 1980, no. 50.

Detroit Institute of Arts, "The Quest for Unity: American Art Between the Wrorld's Fairs, 1876-1893," 1983, no. 147.

The Montclair Art Museum, "Paris 1900: 'The American School' at the Universal Exposition," September 18, 1999-January 16, 2000; traveled to Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, February 11-April 16, 2000; Columbus Museum of Art, May 18-August 13, 2000.

Publication History

Carolyn Kinder Carr, et al., "Revisiting the White City: American Art at the 1893 World's Fair" (University Press of New England, 1993), p. 268 (ill.).

Judith A. Barter et al, American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), p. 28, no. 25.

Michael Quick, George Inness, a Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 2 (Rutgers University Press, 2007), no. 948, pl. 196.

Ownership History

Thomas B. Clarke (sale, American Art Association, New York, February 14-18, 1899); Emerson McMillin, New York, from 1899 to 1911; Knoedler & Co., New York, 1911; Reinhardt Galleries, Chicago, 1911; sold to Edward B. Butler, Chicago, 1911; given to the Art Institute, 1911.

Interpretive Resources

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