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Lot 40
George Inness
Italy 13 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (33.3 x 24.1 cm.)
26 May 2022, 14:00 EDT
New York

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George Inness (1825-1894)

signed 'G. Inness' (lower right)
oil on canvas
13 1/8 x 9 1/2 in. (33.3 x 24.1 cm.)
Painted circa 1874.


Elizabeth A. (née Hart) Inness (1833-1903), Montclair, New Jersey, wife of the artist, by descent from the artist, 1894.
Estate of the above, 1903.
Sale, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York, February 11, 1904, no. 19, sold by the above.
Dr. Ward.
Oscar and Maria Salzer, Los Angeles.
Gift from the above to the present owner.

L. Ireland, The Works of George Inness: An Illustrated Catalogue Raisonné, Austin, Texas, 1965, pp. 163, 466, no. 661.

We wish to thank Michael Quick, foremost authority on the work of George Inness and author of George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné, for his kind assistance in cataloging this work. This work will be included in Michael Quick's forthcoming supplement to the catalogue raisonné of the works of George Inness. A letter of authenticity from Michael Quick dated October 14, 2021 accompanies this work.

George Inness' Italy is an exquisite example from the artist's Italian period of the early 1870s that beautifully demonstrates his abilities as a landscape painter at this stage of his career. On April 30, 1870, Inness departed New York for Rome where he lived until early 1874. Though he was based in Rome, Inness spent the summers of 1870, 1871, and part of 1873 in Perugia, in Umbria with Elihu Vedder (1836-1923) and his circle of artists that he quickly fell in with after his arrival in Rome. Inness also spent the summer of 1872 in Albano and part of the summer of 1873 in Venice and Pieve di Cadore in the Dolomites. (M. Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. 1, New Brunswick, New Jersey, 2007, p. 319) Like his American compatriots, he produced numerous field sketches and studies that he would bring back to his studio in Rome to translate into finished works. Inness would continue to paint Italian subjects during his French period from the spring of 1874 to early 1875, evolving his styles, and after he returned to Boston and New York as late as 1879.

In Italy painted circa 1874, Inness depicts a steep path leading downward through a thicket of trees toward a lake in the distance. On the center of the path, a figure is descending the path proceeded by a mother and child. In the right of the foreground where a very tall tree and foliage grows is a crenelated tower. Michael Quick notes in his findings researching Italy that the subject of the work "Appears to be a view looking down on one of the Alban lakes with the walls of the crater rising steeply. The round tower may recall the one in the town of Nemi, although that one today stands clear of all foliage. The artist may have included this tower to recall that one...This may be an ideal composition rather than one painted in Italy. It does not appear to be a compositional study because the sky and distant hillside have been carried quite far. It is likely that the artist would have continued to work on it." (M. Quick, unpublished letter, October 14, 2021)

The present work was previously in the collection of Oscar Salzer, an Austrian art dealer and antiquarian, who fled the country for the United States just before the Anschluss in 1938. He continued his work and involvement in the art world in Los Angeles, where he dealt prominent works and expressed his love for the graphic arts through an expansive collection. He and his wife Maria donated most of their collection to the California museum they helped found, the Fresno Art Museum.

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