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George Inness

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Short Cut, Watchung Station, New Jersey, 1883

About the Artwork

In a bucolic landscape of northern New Jersey, Inness’s carefully manipulated vantage point places rural life and modern technology on a collision course. An elderly man leaning on a walking stick makes his way across a rickety bridge in the foreground, appearing to confront a train speeding in his direction in the background. The precarious position of the figure over a dark chasm conveys the artist’s sense of the vulnerability of historic tradition in the modern era, a concern that resonates with his admiration for the old masters.

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