Thursday, August 29, 2013


Oil on Stretched Linen

I have been reading a big hefty book this summer entitled "A History of Tonalism: 1880-1920".  It isn't the kind of book that I would read cover to cover.  It is the kind where I read some and then ponder on the morsels.  In it are beautiful examples of the great American Tonalist works by artists such as George Inness, Homer Dodge Martin, John Henry Twatchtman and James McNeill Whistler.  

All of these visual delights are interspersed with the philosophies of the day by Emerson, Thoreau and Darwin.  American Tonalism came about after the Civil War.  At that time, the nation was grieving and was trying to come to grips with the horrors of loss.  As a result, there came the philosophy that Spirit is in the landscape.  And that Spirit was most apparent and visible during the Magic Hours, such as dawn, sunset, twilight and night.  

It was a time of renewal and hope.