Early Inness work uncovered at Dallas art museum

Associated Press
This photo provided by the Dallas Museum of Art shows  George Inness, "In the Woods."  A curator at the Dallas Museum of Art has discovered the early work Inness in the institution’s collection. The painting that was previously attributed to another artist will debut Friday at the museum. (AP Photo/Dallas Museum of Art)
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This photo provided by the Dallas Museum of Art shows George Inness, "In the Woods." A curator at the Dallas Museum of Art has discovered the early work Inness in the institution’s collection. The painting that was previously attributed to another artist will debut Friday at the museum. (AP Photo/Dallas Museum of Art)

DALLAS (AP) — An unsigned painting that has been in the Dallas Museum of Art's collection for more than eight decades and was long-believed to have been composed by another artist was likely created by George Inness, one of America's greatest landscape painters, a curator said.

Experts at the museum had thought the oil on canvas, "In the Woods," from around 1850, was painted by Asher B. Durand, a leading figure of the Hudson River School painters in the mid-19th century who was an early influence on Inness.

But experts at the museum began to question the painting's attribution, prompting American art curator Sue Canterbury to research the origin of the painting. As she considered artists who might stylistically fit, Canterbury turned to Michael Quick's book, "George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonne," where she noticed a pen and ink drawing by the artist that closely resembled "In the Woods."

"My heart leapt. I just couldn't believe it," Canterbury said.

The painting, which features a bucolic forest scene, went on display at the museum on Friday reattributed to Inness. Curators have renamed the painting, "Stream in the Mountains."

Canterbury said the reattribution of the painting is significant because it is from Inness' early years, a period of his long career from which not many works have survived. Inness died at the age of 69 in 1894. Canterbury said he changed his style many times during his career.

"It helps art historians understand what he was doing during this period," Canterbury said.

She said comparing the finished painting with the drawing helps "gives us an idea of his artistic process."

Quick, who called the discovery a significant addition to Inness' body of work, suggested the reason not as many paintings have survived from that early period in Inness' career is because he was not as well known then.

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