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Styles & Periods
Tonalism

Tonalism was a style found in American painting of the late 19th century which often emphasized the atmospheric and ambient conditions of a scene. Related to the development of the observations of light of the Impressionists a few years later, Tonalists, such as George Inness, depicted nature in a soft, subjective manner, apparently removed from the grand statements in landscape of the Hudson River Painters before him. Intimate and delicate tableaus typify his work. Much of James McNeill Whistler's work also typifies the Tonalist style, notably Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket. Pictorial photographers a few decades later adopted the ideals of the Tonalist artists. No longer interested in documentary photography, Alfred Stieglitz pioneered an expressive style of photography that emulated paintings with soft focus, resulting in sentimental prints.


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