About This Artwork

George Inness
American, 1825–1894

A Marine, c. 1874/75

Oil on canvas
76.8 x 114.9 cm (30 1/4 x 45 1/4 in.)
Signed, lower left: "G. Inness"

Edward B. Butler Collection, 1913.90

George Inness’s rough, energetic brushstrokes evoke the raw beauty and potentially destructive power of the ocean in this dramatic seascape. He created it during a trip to Europe in the early 1870s. It was previously thought to depict Étretat, in Normandy, France, but scholars now believe that the image is of Porto d’Anzio, Italy. The sky is illuminated by patches of orange and white light, outlining the ships and distant town on the horizon. Careful study of the surface of the central rock in the foreground illustrates the artist’s impressive manipulation of paint: by employing shifts in texture and shading, he was able to emphasize distinctions between sun and shadow, wet and dry, and clean and algae-covered. Inness traveled to Europe to study landscape painting with the masters of the Barbizon School, who were known for a personal style that contrasted with the grandiose Hudson River School in America. The influence of this intimate approach is apparent in the painting of the rocks and spraying seawater.

— Permanent collection label

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Publication History

Michael Quick, George Inness, a Catalogue Raisonne, vol. 2 (Rutgers University Press, 2007), no. 508.

Ownership History

Harry Reinhardt, New York, by 1913; Edward B. Butler, Chicago, 1913; given to the Art Institute, 1913.

Interpretive Resources

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