(other titles: The Old Mill, Montclair; The Old Mill, New Jersey)
While maintaining ties with New York City, Inness had a rather nomadic existence and found inspirational material for his distinctive painting style in and around the various places he lived throughout his career. From 1860 to 1864, he resided in Medfield, Massachusetts, and in the mid-to-late 1860s he was in the coastal New Jersey community of Eagleswood, before a return trip to Europe from 1870 to 1874 found him in Rome and later Normandy. By the late 1870s, Inness began renting the Dodge Estate in Montclair, New Jersey, which he later purchased in 1884 and where he eventually passed away ten years later.
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Located roughly fifteen miles north of Montclair, the scenery captured in Ramapo Hills embodies the artist’s methodology with its soft brushwork and rich coloring, and in its depiction of the harmonious relationship between man and his environment, represented by the mill buildings nestled in the landscape. The painting is listed in Michael Quick’s catalogue raisonné of the artist’s work, with alternate titles given as The Old Mill, Montclair and The Old Mill, New Jersey, and according to the author the studio painting relates to two smaller compositional studies made around 1877, Landscape and Green Mountains.
Collection of Captain Israel Clark, Bullock’s Point, East Providence, Rhode Island, circa mid-1870s (purportedly purchased directly from the artist)
Eventually to collection of Mrs. John W. Hutchinson, by 1949
With Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York, New York
Eventually to collection of Frank Van Mark, Grand Rapids, Michigan, to 1971
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 23559, September 1971
To Heritage Plantation of Sandwich, Sandwich, Massachusetts, April 1984
Eventually to collection of Robert C. Vose, Jr., Duxbury, Massachusetts, by 1994
With Vose Galleries, Boston, inventory no. 31530, May 1995
To private collection, Brookline, Massachusetts, June 1998 to present
(in black marker on upper right stretcher and frame) 1984.6
1). Previous Vose Galleries label, inventory no. 31530
2). (on frame) McNay Art Institute / San Antonio, Texas / Exhibition: Collectors’ Gallery 8 / [Dates] November – December ’74 (rest of label is missing)
3). (on frame) The Saginaw Museum / L1949.142 / The Old Mill, Montc—(torn) / George Inness / Mrs. John W. Hutchinson
1). Ireland, Leroy. The Works of George Inness, An Illustrated Catalogue Raisonné (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1965), catalogue no. 1412, p. 363, illus.
2). Edward F. Weeks and Andrea Derr, “American Masters 1872-1972,” Birmingham Museum of Art Bulletin, no. 10 (February-March 1972)
3). Antiques 101, no. 3 (March 1972), reproduced for sale by Vose Galleries
4). Quick, Michael. George Inness: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2007), catalogue no. 597, pp. 518-520, illus.
1). The Saginaw Museum, Saginaw, Michigan, 1949, as The Old Mill, Montclair (on loan from Mrs. John W. Hutchinson)
2). Collectors’ Gallery VIII, McNay Art Institute, San Antonio, Texas, 1974 (on loan from Vose Galleries, Boston)