Tag Archives: Ryan Dunn

George Inness in Goochland

18 Apr
George_Inness_-_Gray_Day,_Goochland_-_Google_Art_Project post

“Gray Day, Goochland” by George Inness, 1884

“There is no quarter of the globe so desirable as America, no state in America so desirable as Virginia.” Thomas Jefferson wrote these words in 1795 and by the spring of 1884, one of America’s most accomplished landscape painters, George Inness, left New York City bound for Virginia. Inness found his inspiration in Goochland.

For three months, Inness called Goochland his home while painting landscapes and enjoying the slower paced and incognito lifestyle. From Inness’ letters, it is clear that he stayed in the Courthouse area, possibly at the Old Inn which was situated adjacent to the jail, which he references in multiple letters.

During his stay in the Courthouse area, Innes explains in his letters home how pleased and happy he was with the progress being made on multiple paintings. Inness’ vast collection of paintings totals over 1,150 works, with four to six attributed to Goochland. “Gray Day, Goochland,” pictured here, is the most notable.

How Inness ended up in Goochland remains a mystery. He traveled to many parts of the country but his first trip to the South led him to Goochland. Inness suffered from epilepsy and was advised to seek out tranquil locations for relaxation. This or possibly his desire to remain unrecognized (as his popularity was at its peak) led Inness to end up in Goochland.

Inness’ trip to Goochland began the final ten years his life where his artwork took on a more abstract rendering of shapes, softened edges and saturated color.

Contributed by Ryan Dunn of the Goochland County Historical Society.

To learn more about George Inness in Goochland, read Goochland County Historical Society Magazine Vol. 20 “Why Not Goochland? George Inness in Goochland” by CeCe Bullard.  Available for purchase at the Historical Center and online.

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