The Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) has reattributed a painting, originally believed to be the work of Hudson Valley School artist Asher B. Durand and called In the Woods, to another 19th-century American landscape painter, George Inness. The museum has also renamed the painting Stream in the Mountain to better reflect Inness’s titles for other works.
Texas businessman Cecil A. Keating bequeathed the unsigned painting to the museum upon his death in 1931. DMA has no record of where he acquired it or who first attributed it to Durand. Over the years, the painting was reclassified as a possible Durand because of doubts regarding its origins.
Associate curator of American art Sue Canterbury examined the painting’s composition and technique in order to narrow down the list of artists to whom the painting might be attributed, according to the museum. Though Inness’s early work bore the most similarity to the piece, Canterbury could not prove the connection until she found a pen-and-ink drawing by Inness at the Princeton University Art Museum that contained the same compositional elements as the DMA’s painting, especially a particular trapezoidal rock. Michael Quick, a former curator at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and author of the 2007 Inness catalogue raisonné, supports the reattribution and assigned the painting a date of circa 1850.
Museum director Maxwell L. Anderson says that the piece will join “four additional paintings in the DMA’s collection that stem from the artist’s late career and, thus, will allow us to present visitors with a fuller understanding of the stylistic development of this superb American painter.”
The museum is currently showing the painting alongside an actual Durand canvas, Wooded Landscape.