Inness painted Hazy Morning at the end of the 1870s, a decade that the artist had begun with an almost-five-year sojourn in Europe, primarily in Italy and France. Upon his return to the United States, he took a studio in Boston and painted landscapes in New England, including The Church Spire...
Inness painted Hazy Morning at the end of the 1870s, a decade that the artist had begun with an almost-five-year sojourn in Europe, primarily in Italy and France. Upon his return to the United States, he took a studio in Boston and painted landscapes in New England, including The Church Spire [20.1863] and Near Kearsarge Village [30.102]. He moved to Montclair, New Jersey, in 1878. In that year he also became a founding member of the Society of American Artists, a group that objected to the conservatism of the National Academy of Design. Like many of the other founders, who were generally younger than Inness and educated in Europe, Inness had seen the latest styles in Paris and now favored paintings with freer brushwork rather than the more traditional tight strokes of the highly finished canvases favored by the academy. In addition, as a result of his French experience and his association with younger, foreign-trained artists, Inness began to invest his work with intense color and emotional and spiritual content, often evoked through weather effects. The expressive paint handling, strong color, and stormy subject matter are all characteristic of Hazy Morning. The topography of Hazy Morning is indistinct and unidentified. It may represent a view near Montclair, but Inness’s main interest was in describing the effects of the weather rather than in depicting the details of the landscape. Inness fills his painting with passion, rendering the sky filled with roiling clouds. The sketchiness and lack of finish convey a sense of spontaneity: Inness gives his viewers the sense that he was responding directly to nature rather than carefully crafting a view in his studio. Although this painting was known by the title The Rising Storm when it entered the MFA’s collection in 1882, a label with the handwritten title A Hazy Morning is attached to the stretcher. It was therefore probably this picture, under the title Hazy Morning, that Inness submitted to the 1879 spring exhibition at the National Academy of Design,where it received both strong praise for the artist’s delight in “moments of transition” and criticism for its unfinished quality. Notes 1. “The Two New York Exhibitions,” The Atlantic Monthly 43, no. 260 (June 1879): 783, quoted in Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2007), 574. Janet L. Comey
Lower right: G. Inness 1875
1875, the artist; 1880, with Doll & Richards, Boston; 1880, George Higginson (1804-1889), Boston; 1882, gift of George Higginson to the MFA. (Accession Date: May 2, 1882)
Gift of George Higginson