Spanierman Gallery

In the Tonalist Mood

Tonalism developed from two European springs: the French Barbizon School, by way of its American disciples, and Aestheticism. Practiced from the mid-19th century into the early 20th, it was less a coherent movement than a shared sensibility among Europhile American artists. Chief among these were George Inness and his followers and James McNeil Whistler, American expatriate and evangelist of tonal harmony. Whistler’s low-toned atmospheric arrangements, those ethereal nocturnes and harmonies, were a prime impetus behind the spread of a loose convergence of styles that did not even have a name until 1890s. Continue Reading