George Inness, New Jersey Landscape, 1891. Gift of Frank and Katherine Martucci, 2013.1.7

George Inness: Sacred and Profane Spaces

Sunday, July 28, 2013
3:00 pm

Adrienne Baxter Bell., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Art History at Marymount Manhattan College, presents the lecture “George Inness: Sacred and Profane Spaces,” in which she examines the recent gift to the Clark by Frank and Katherine Martucci of eight late landscape paintings by George Inness (1825–1894). Bell will provide an introduction to the artist’s life, work, and ideas, followed by an exploration of some of the ways that Inness, on the cusp of modernism, created a new language of landscape painting that engaged both the sacred and the profane in nature.

Bell's lecture will explore Inness's engagement with art as a form of philosophical inquiry—an opportunity to explore ideas about reality, cosmology, and existence. As a follower of the mystical/scientific theories of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772), Inness often used his paintings to convey his belief in the omnipresence of a spiritual force in nature; yet he continued to paint fairly recognizable settings, even into the late period of his landscape painting.

Bell is the author of several studies on late nineteenth-century American landscape painting, including George Inness and the Visionary Landscape (2003), which she wrote to accompany an exhibition she curated for the National Academy Museum and the San Diego Museum of Art. She also edited and introduced George Inness: Writings and Reflections on Art and Philosophy (2011). More recently, her essay “Body-Nature-Paint: Embodying Experience in Gilded Age American Landscape Painting” was included in The Cultured Canvas: New Perspectives on American Landscape Painting (2012).