American, 1825-1894

"Sunset Over the Hudson", ca. 1880

oil on board (cradled)
signed and dated lower left "G. Inness 1880", signed and dated lower right "188?"
22 x 34 inches

  • Provenance: Estate of the artist; (sale, Fifth Avenue Art Galleries, New York [George Inness Executor's sale] February 12-14, 1895, no. 41, as Sunset over the River); F. L. Leland, purchased at auction, 1895; With Newman E. Montross, New York; (sale, American Art Association, New York, February 8, 1923, no. 67, as Sunset, repro.); With R. C. and N. M. Vose, 1923-24, recorded first as Sunset, then as In the Gloaming; Gage Galleries, Cleveland, Ohio, 1924; Elizabeth Bingham Blossom, Cleveland, Ohio; Private collection by descent to 2022.
  • Literature: Leroy Ireland, "The Works of George Inness", (1965), no. 939, listed and illus. p. 233. "Great Examples of American Painting in the N. E. Montross Sale", American Art News 21, no. 6 (January 27, 1923): 5, mentioned.
  • Notes: A letter of authenticity from Michael Quick accompanies the lot. In a Carrig-Rohane frame.

    Framed dimensions: 29 3/4 x 41 3/4 x 2 3/4 inches

    George Inness was a highly prolific artist during his long career. For fifty years, from 1844-1894, he exhibited at the National Academy of Design. Although associated with the Hudson River School and the group of Tonalists, Inness changed his styles throughout his career, keeping up with leading artistic trends. He said of himself, "I have changed from the time I commenced because I had never completed my art and as I do not care about being cake, I shall remain dough subject to any impression which I am satisfied comes from the region of truth."1

    He readily experimented with new styles and embraced new trends, visible in each era of his work. Throughout, he infused his paintings with a sense of philosophical and spiritual qualities that set him apart. During the 1880s, Inness attempted to capture nature exactly the way it looked even if that meant diverging from the leading painting trends. In his letter evaluating the present lot, Inness expert Michael Quick notes, "Even though this is a studio painting, every part of it is about the action or absence of light. The upper right section which portrays the river, far shore and sunset, was broadly and freely painted, in contrast to the wooded area at center and left, which was worked up in an indirect process of warm glazes and varied scumbled highlights within the shadowed woods. Always his objective was to record the action of light and its effect on the appearance of things—which fits squarely into the works of 1880."

    Inness was born near Newburgh, New York in 1825. He spent most of his childhood in Newark, New Jersey. After an apprenticeship working for an engraver, Inness studied at the National Academy of Design from 1843-1847 with Regis Francois Gignoux (see lot 48). In 1851, he made a fifteen month trip to Italy, and then a shorter visit in France. He returned to America moving to New York from 1854-1859. He then moved briefly to Massachusetts and back to New Jersey before finally returning to New York in 1867.

    In 1868, Inness was elected a full member of the National Academy. He returned to Italy for another sojourn from 1871-1875 and continued to travel up until his death in Scotland in 1894. A public funeral was held in New York at the National Academy as was an exhibition of his paintings.

    1 Michael Quick, "George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonne," (New Jersey: Rutgers University, 2007), p. 1.

    Tags: oil painting, New England, listed artist, 19th century, landscape, tonalist, tonalism
  • Condition: in overall very good condition; a few small areas of craquelure; a few small areas of inpaint; additional UV photos available upon request; in a Carrig Rohane frame

    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE. 

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