George Inness on ebay (again)

It isn’t that infrequent that you see the name George Inness attached to a painting on ebay. This is the first time in recent memory it’s been attached to a painting that struck me as having the potential to be  a George Inness painting.

It’s hard to get a good feel for paintings from internet photos, but having seen early Inness paintings, this looks like it could be the real deal. The landscape appears as though it could be depicting the Kittatinny Mountains / Delaware Water Gap, also featured in a known Inness painting titled Delaware Water Gap. It’s signed G Inness and dated 1860, which puts it mid-way between a style change from an observed landscape, and the suggestive studio-created landscapes of his mature style.

Paintings by George Inness come up with relative frequency at auction, with mature works bringing considerably more than early landscapes, with exceptions. A little research shows that the painting was offered through Freeman’s auction in February, 2008. It was listed by the auction house as “Manner of George Inness,” indicating there may have been doubt on their part about whether was attributable to the painter. Freeman’s estimated the painting at $1,000 to $1,500. It failed to sell. Listed with a starting bid of $5,000, the ebay seller identifies it conclusively as being a George Inness and even states in the description “without any uncertainty this is a work by George Inness in my opinion.” The description indicates the painting was purchased several years ago at from an estate.

Is this a painting by George Inness? It very well could be, however it seems certain others have concluded it might not be. Don’t take my word, or the auctioneers assessment as fact, however. Go, inspect, look, compare. Bring a black light. Perhaps you have that knack for seeing what others miss, but a word to the wise, it’s easier to believe it is if you want it to be.

p.s. the description says “original frame.” It doesn’t look like an 1860s frame to me. The item number is 230420172226.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url artafterx.com will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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