Joel Isaacson on Monet:
"Monet's reference is ostensibly external--out to nature--but it surely embodies the integral relationship between artist and nature that is drawn immediately and directly in the practice of plein-air painting"
"...along with the indeterminate and relative nature of truth there may remain a hierarchy of quality and critical success that can be gauged by the artist according to his own valuation...That valuation is an aesthetic one; it is separate from and yet, as Byvanck's account reveals, completely bound up with his observer's relationship to the world. That relationship was searching, always open to discovery, yet often guided by an experimental rigor."
Monet: "I hope that I will be rewarded...each day I add and surprise something that I had not yet known how to see."
September 25, 2008
NY Review of Books
Andrew Butterfield, the Genuius of George Inness
"As a painter, Inness matured very slowly. Although a professional artist around New York and Boston most of his life, he did not become a consistently interesting and inventive painter until he was almost forty; he became a daring experimentalist at fifty, and a radical and visionary at sixty, making his most original and thrilling pictures in the last years of his life before his death in 1894."
"The key to his new vigor was his bold rejection of the empirical standards of representational painting, an exceptional departure at the time."
"In the 1870s and 1880s, he sometimes intentionally accentuated the unreal character of the space in order to heighten his paintings' eerie effect. In the strangest of these pictures, such as Pool in the Woods from around 1890, Inness includes so few markers of relative position that the foreground and middle ground seem to shift and shimmer as if in some frightening hallucination. Describing a moment of spiritual ecstacy in the presence of the divine splendor of nature, Beecher wrote, "The whole world stood in an unnatural trance and the most familiar things looked wild and almost fearful."