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Best 19th Century Artist in the Spencer and Nelson- Atkins Art Museums 

George Inness

To hell with Claude Monet. The best turn-of-the-century painter was America's own George Inness. A full ocean away from the buzzing salons of Paris, this New Englander quietly worked his way toward some of the most sublime and impressionistic paintings ever created. His aim was to use paint to approximate his own religious beliefs: that the transcendent can be seen in nature, particularly in light. Each of these two museums offers a trio of paintings by Inness that show the progress of his career. His early works are quite pedestrian, ho-hum 19th century landscapes. But the later works cast an alluring glow. Forms are obscured in favor of an impression of their existence. The subjects, usually silhouetted people and farm animals, seem to hover at the edge of a light that seems to both shine out and draw in.

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