Tonalism

1880 - 1915

Style of American painting that appeared between c. 1880 and 1920, defined by evocative atmospheric effects and a limited palette of soft, mostly dark colours. Its primary influences were French Barbizon school ideas as adopted by George Inness and William Morris Hunt, and the aesthetic movement, as embodied by James McNeill Whistler. The style is characterized by soft, diffused light, muted tones, and hazily outlined objects, all of which imbue the works with a strong sense of mood. The term was applied especially to landscape painting in which nature is presented as serene or mysterious, never disquieting or dramatic.
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© Grove Art / OUP

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