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Gallery Text

Blurred, softly painted, and almost otherworldly, October Noon differs markedly from the realistic, crisply rendered American landscapes that hang nearby, such as Bierstadt’s magisterial view of the Rockies. Though Inness probably based this scene on the flat, marshy terrain near his New Jersey studio, his image retreats from hard facts and recognizable places to suggest a peaceful, imagined, or dimly remembered landscape. Formally evocative of work from the French Barbizon School, Inness’s quiet paintings found favor among New York patrons overwhelmed by the rumble of the new modern city. As one New York critic put it, “Now and then [Inness] has a picture of perfect peace. . . . It tranquilizes the soul even to look upon it.”

Identification and Creation
Object Number
George Inness, American (Newburgh, NY 1825 - 1894 Bridge of Allan, Scotland)
October Noon
Work Type
Creation Place: North America, United States
Persistent Link
Level 2, Room 2100, European and American Art, 17th–19th century, Centuries of Tradition, Changing Times: Art for an Uncertain Age
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Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
77.8 x 113.4 cm (30 5/8 x 44 5/8 in.)
framed: 101.3 x 139.4 x 9.2 cm (39 7/8 x 54 7/8 x 3 5/8 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • Signed: l.l.: G. Inness 1891
Walter D. Blair, Tarrytown, NY; sold to M. Knoedler & Co., 1919; sold to Charles M. Schwab, New York, NY, 1920; sold at Schwab estate sale, Tobias, Fischer and Co., NY, 1940, lot no. 47; sold to M. Knoedler & Co. Inc., New York, NY; sold to John Levy Galleries, 1942; acquired through Martin Birnbaum by Grenville L. Winthrop, 1942; his bequest to the Fogg Art Museum, 1943.

Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

LeRoy Ireland, The Works of George Inness: An Illustrated Catalogue Raisonné, University of Tennessee Press (Austin, TX, 1965), p. 346, no. 1359, ill.

Dorothy W. Gillerman, ed., Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, 1969), p. 238

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., George Inness, Praeger (New York, NY, 1971), p. 55, pl. IX

Louise Todd Ambler and Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, "American Painting at Harvard", Antiques (New York, NY, November 1972), vol. 102, no. 5, pp. 876-883, pp. 877, 879, fig. 8

Kenyon Castle Bolton, III, Peter G. Huenink, Earl A. Powell III, Harry Z. Rand, and Nanette C. Sexton, American Art at Harvard, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1972), cat. 98, ill.

The Life and Work of George Inness (New York, NY, 1977), pp. 322, 366

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr. and Michael Quick, George Inness, exh. cat., Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Harper & Row (Los Angeles and New York, 1985), pp. 10-11, fig. 1

Eric M. Rosenberg and Miriam Stewart, The Harvest of 1830: The Barbizon Legacy, exh. cat., Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 24

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., George Inness, Harry N. Abrams, Inc./National Museum of American Art (New York, NY, 1993), ill. p. 109

Eugene Taylor, "The Interior Landscape: George Inness and William James on Art from a Swedenborgian Point of View", Archives of American Art Journal (1997), vol. 37, nos 1-2, pp. 2-10, p. 7, ill.

Kate Smith, "A Study of George Inness's Underdrawing Technique" (thesis (certificate in conservation), Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies, 2002), Unpublished, pp. 1-14 passim

Stephan Wolohojian, ed., A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Yale University Press (U.S.) (New York, 2003), pp. 452-53, cat. 204, ill.

Adrienne Baxter Bell, George Inness and the Visionary Landscape, exh. cat., National Academy of Design / George Braziller, Inc. (New York, NY, 2003), pp. 37, 102-103, 172, cat. 25, ill.

Stephan Wolohojian, Ingres, Burne-Jones, Whistler, Renoir... La Collection Grenville L. Winthrop, exh. cat., Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon and Réunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 2003), p. 466-467, cat. 204, ill.

Rachel DeLue, George Inness and the Science of Landscape, University of Chicago Press (Chicago and London, 2004), pl. 14, back cover, and p. 222, fig, 76, det.

Nicolai Cikovsky, Jr., "George Inness and Tonalist Uncertainty", The Poetic Vision: American Tonalism, ed. Ralph Sessions, Spanierman Gallery (New York, 2005), pp. 51-60, p. 53, fig. 17

Michael Quick, George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné, Rutgers University Press (New Brunswick, NJ and London, 2007), p. 216, pl. 204, p. 261, fig. 296, p. 267, p. 311-313, no. 1003, ill.

Theodore E. Stebbins, Jr. and Melissa Renn, American Paintings at Harvard, Volume One: Paintings, Watercolors, and Pastels by Artists Born before 1826, Yale University Press (U.S.) and Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge and New Haven, 2014), pp. 27, 300-01, cat. 261, ill.

Rebecca Bedell, Moved to Tears: Rethinking the Art of the Sentimental in the United States, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ, 2018), pp. 100-102, fig. 53, fig. 54 (detail), repr. title page (detail)

Exhibition History

Exhibition of Paintings by George Inness , Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, 05/01/1935 - 09/01/1935

American Art at Harvard, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/19/1972 - 06/18/1972

The Harvest of 1830: the Barbizon Legacy, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 08/25/1990 - 10/21/1990

The Persistence of Memory: Continuity and Change in American Cultures, Harvard University Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/29/1995 - 05/13/2001

A Private Passion: 19th-Century Paintings and Drawings from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, Harvard University, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10/23/2003 - 01/25/2004

George Inness and the Visionary Landscape, National Academy of Design, New York, 09/17/2003 - 12/28/2003; San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, 01/24/2004 - 04/18/2004

For Students of Art and Lovers of Beauty: Highlights from the Collection of Grenville L. Winthrop, Harvard University Art Museums, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 04/16/2004

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 08 Rotation 1), Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 09/13/2008 - 10/19/2008

HAA 10 Survey Course (S421): The Western Tradition: Art Since the Renaissance (Fall 09 Rotation 1), Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 09/02/2009 - 10/12/2009

32Q: 2100 19th Century, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 07/10/2018 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

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