Handbook Highlight: Twilight

George Inness' Twilight

George Inness’ Twilight, now on view in the 1935 Gallery post-museum reinstallation, is not only a highlight of the Williams College Museum of Art’s collection, but is also a treasure of a landscape. The brilliance of the sunset, the reds, pinks, purples, and yellows collide to create a cloud pattern at sun’s descent (or ascent), and it is a gorgeous sight to behold. Inness infuses each break in the branches, each crack in the flora and fauna, with the soft light. The piece possesses every quality a romantic could want in a sunset.

It also possesses an inherent transformative quality. As day gives way to night, or vice versa, the forest landscape is transformed from lush greens and deep browns to almost total blackness. Inness paints the scene as it becomes only a flicker of what it used to be under the sun’s direct rays.

And thus it mirrors the museum’s transformation, especially the gallery in which it has taken residence. Of all the galleries, the 1935 Gallery has undergone the biggest transformation. With the floor-to-ceiling windows now exposed after decades of being walled in, the twilight can once again peek its head into the gallery and infuse it with light.

George Inness (American, 1825-1894); Twilight, ca. 1860; oil on canvas; Gift of Cyrus P. Smith, Class of 1918, in memory of his father, B. Herbert Smith, Class of 1885. (79.66)

2 Responses to Handbook Highlight: Twilight

  1. Rich Shotwell says:

    I couldn’t find a favorite of mind — “Spirit of the Night” by Innes. Where is it? Any information on it?

    • Suzanne Silitch says:

      you can find your favorite by going to “Search the Collection” and typing this number into the quick search box on the left: