About This Artwork

George Inness
American, 1825–1894

Catskill Mountains, 1870

Oil on canvas
123.8 × 184.5 cm (48 3/4 × 72 5/8 in.)
Signed, lower left: "G. Inness 1870"

Edward B. Butler Collection, 1912.1623

George Inness’s Catskill Mountains depicts a land tamed by human presence. The church, the carefully tended fields, and the hayrick on the right are all finely delineated in a manner typical of Inness’s early style. Although the artist’s reverent handling of color and light in this image has often been linked to his interest in Swedenborgian spirituality, it also relates to his admiration for this particular expanse of the American landscape. During the mid-19th century, the Catskill Mountain range was America’s premiere tourist site. The region’s close proximity to urban centers and abundant spectacular views made the Catskills a popular destination for those who wanted to escape from the bustle of modern life.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Durand Art Institute, Lake Forest College, A Century of American Painting: Masterpieces Loaned by The Art Institute of Chicago, June 10-16, 1957, cat. 4.

Publication History

Michael Quick, George Inness, a Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 2 (Rutgers University Press, 2007), no. 369, pl. 79.

Judith A. Barter et al., American Arts at The Art Institute of Chicago: From Colonial Times to World War I (Art Institute of Chicago, 1998), pp. 168-71, no. 75.

Ownership History

Mrs. Henry E. Dalley, New York, New York; with M. Knoedler & Co., New York, 1911-12; W. H. Dicks, Chicago, 1912; with W. Scott Thurber, Chicago, 1912; Edward B. Butler, Chicago, 1912; given to the Art Institute, 1912.

Interpretive Resources

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