George Inness, known as one of the tonalists, is one of my favorite artists. I recently came across some interesting words from his son, George Jr., writing about his father's work and his personal view of how one should look at and buy art. I thought it worthwhile to pass along.
Speaking about his father's paintings, Jr. noted, "He had no tricks. His striving was to produce something grand, big, beautiful, true."
He continued expressing his view of how one should consider and purchase art, "A man who is interesting himself in paintings should go among the painters, visit their studios, get their point of view as to what is fine art, learn the reason why it is fine art, learn what is meant by tone, drawing, construction (construction = composition). Learn to appreciate art for the thought it expresses and the story of life that it tells. The artist is the only one who can tell him of the art. He is the only one who knows. Then why not go to him instead of to a dealer whose object is to praise the thing that he can get the biggest price for. and whose strongest argument is that what he is selling will turn out to be an investment?"
Continuing further, Jr. surmised, "Many collections are made for notoriety and a feeling that it will be a safe speculation. Its beauty, its art, or the emotion it awakens, has nothing to do with it. Paintings should be bought because one wants them, loves them, wants them about as treasures of beauty . . . beautiful paths of delightful thoughts."