American Tonalist Society

American Tonalist Society

Founding Members
Eleinne Basa
Daniel Ambrose
Mary Erickson
Donald Demers

“The purpose of the painter is simply…to awaken an emotion.”
– George Inness

About ATS
The American Tonalist Society was founded in 2016 by Eleinne Basa, Daniel Ambrose, Mary Erickson and Donald Demers during a summer artists’ retreat in Port Clyde, Maine. Discussions around the dining room table at Nanatuck prompted conversations about the current progression of art styles. It was noted how the “isms,” cycle throughout art history. Currently, we are seeing a resurgence of the tonalist movement, following the popularity of plein air painting (Impressionism) in the 19th century and classical realism in the early part of this century.

The tonalist movement illustrates the departure from an emphasis on color, strong contrasts, bravura brushwork, high chroma, and detail. Instead, it focuses on emotion, spirituality and mood. Encompassing luminous, evanescent atmospheric paintings with a minimal palette of neutral hues. Like visual poetry, tonalist paintings evoke quiet statements of contemplation, mystery and intrigue.

Mission Statement
To recognize, promote and showcase the contemporary tonalist movement. To advance the tradition of the American Tonalists of the 1800’s through education, exhibitions and catalogues.

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