Years activefrom the 1880s into the early 20th century
CountryUnited States
Major figuresAlbert Pinkham Ryder, George Inness, John Henry Twachtman, James McNeill Whistler
InfluencesFrench Barbizon school, Hudson River School
InfluencedMilton Avery, the Color Field painters, the circle of artists around Alfred Stieglitz and etchers like Edith Loring Getchell

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.[1] During the late 1890s, American art critics began to use the term "tonal" to describe these works, as well as the lesser-known synonyms Quietism and Intimism.[2][3] Two of the leading associated painters were George Inness and James McNeill Whistler.[4]

Tonalism is sometimes used to describe American landscapes derived from the French Barbizon style,[5] which emphasized mood and shadow.[6] Tonalism was eventually eclipsed by Impressionism and European modernism.

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

Associated artists


See also


  1. ^ "What is Tonalism? Tonalism Palette, Tonalism Definition". Tonalism. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  2. ^ Raynor, Vivien (1982-06-27). "ART; MOODY SCENES FROM TONALISTS". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  3. ^ "The Sublime Landscape". Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  4. ^ "The 4 Most Important Names of Tonalism". Widewalls. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  5. ^ Avery, Kevin J. & Fischer, Diane P. "American Tonalism: Selections from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Montclair Art Museum ". Burlington Magazine, Vol. 142, No. 1168, July, 2000. p. 453.
  6. ^ "American Tonalism". Artsy. Retrieved 2021-12-01.