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The Old Mill

A work made of oil on canvas.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




George Inness (American, 1825–1894)

About this artwork

George Inness began painting landscapes during a period in which the public preferred depictions of the untamed American wilderness; throughout his career, however, he insisted upon the importance of the cultivated landscape as a subject for art. In this work, the brightly lit figures and mill contrast with the shadowy darkness of the trees, suggesting the potential for danger at the edge of the forest. The rundown mill represents a stable, settled area but also points to the changes brought about by industrialization. Inness thus created a contradictory view of rural life that celebrates its simplicity and safety while hinting at its decline.


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Arts of the Americas


George Inness


The Old Mill


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Signed, lower right: "G. Inness 1849"


75.9 × 107 cm (29 7/8 × 42 1/8 in.)

Credit Line

The William Owen Goodman and Erna Sawyer Goodman Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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