colonial times artists in New Jersey mostly painted portraits,
following the artistic trends of the time. At the beginning
of the nineteenth century, however, a New Jerseyan found himself
at the forefront of a new style of painting.
Brown Durand of Maplewood was considered a leader
of the Hudson River School of artists. These artists
focused on landscape painting. Their goal was to paint
nature the way it really looks.
Brown Durand Summer Afternoon
was one of the first American artists to leave the studio and
work outdoors. He went to the Adirondack, Catskill, and White
Mountains in the summer to sketch his landscapes and then did
his oil paintings in the studio, basing them on his sketches.
working as an engraver for a Newark firm, Durand began painting
portraits in the late 1820s. His love of nature and his friendship
with Thomas Cole, the original leader of the Hudson River School,
soon caused him to switch his focus to landscape art. Durand
closely studied the rocks, trees, and plants that he would
later use in his
paintings. In addition to his artwork, he served as president
of the National Academy of Design from 1845 to 1861.
year before Durand became president, a young Newark resident
exhibited his work for the first time at the National Academy
of Design. George Inness would become the
next prominent landscape painter with New Jersey ties.
was born in Newburgh, New York, but his family moved to
Newark when he was four. Like Durand, George started out
as an engraver. He had a couple of months instruction in
painting and then started producing his own works. Inness
studied the works of Durand and Thomas Cole. His early
work is detailed and realistic, like the Hudson River School
Inness Morning, Catskill Valley
(The Red Oaks) 1894
Oil on canvas
35 3/8" x 53 3/4"
1853, Inness traveled to France. There he was influenced by
the Barbizon painters. A decade later he returned live in Eagleswood.
Reflecting the French influence, his work strayed from the
Hudson River School. Inness now portrayed nature in a larger
sense, with less focus on detail. He wanted to show the spirituality
some time in New York City and Italy, Inness settled in Montclair,
which provided the setting for many of his paintings throughout
the rest of his life. Take a look at some of Inness’ paintings,
including some pictures of Montclair.