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The Coming Storm

Artist: George Inness
Created: 1878
Dimensions (cm): 97.8 x 66.0
Format: Oil on canvas
Location: Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, USA

Artist George Inness regularly chose to portray wildlife and wild lands in a more “domesticated” fashion. ‘The Coming Storm’, created in 1878, is no exception. The painting’s uniqueness is found in Inness’ ability to discover beauty in a seemingly ordinary field. The blackness and engorgement of the rolling clouds forewarns of an impending thunderous storm. The trees, in autumn decline, are appropriately shadowed to reflect the oncoming rain, while the green grass of the field perfectly depicts the wind’s direction. The trees, being grouped together and somewhat separated from the field, render the closer front landscape a painting within a painting. Nonetheless, the whole is amazingly unified. This effect was created purposefully, as Inness believed that separating the images brought a clearer understanding of the landscape. The exact location of the field is not known, but is believed to be near North Conway, New Hampshire.

History of ‘The Coming Storm’

George Inness was not commissioned to paint ‘The Coming Storm’, but once the painting was finished, he gave it to Mrs. William Bryan, Head Mistress of the boarding school that his daughters attended in Batvia; it was to assist in compensating for the tuition expenses.

Analysis and Quotes

When reviewed by Raymond J. Steiner of Art Times Journal.com, he stated, “By any standard, “The Coming Storm” is indeed a fine painting — in my estimation even better than his later painting of the same name done two years later in 1880 — showing his eye for both controlled scope and detail. Inness had an uncanny sensitivity to nature that almost always borders on the reverent.”

‘The Coming Storm’ is currently located in the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York.

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