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.