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

Tonalism was an artistic style that emerged in the 1880s when American artists began to paint landscape forms with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist Between 1880 and 1915, dark, neutral hues such as gray, brown or blue, often dominated compositions by artists associated with the style During the late 1890s, American art critics began to use the term “tonal” to describe these works Two of the leading associated painters were George Inness and James McNeill Whistler

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Australian Tonalism emerged as an art movement in Melbourne during the 1910s

Tonalism is sometimes used to describe American landscapes derived from the French Barbizon style, which emphasized mood and shadow Tonalism was eventually eclipsed by Impressionism and European modernism