American Tonalist Society (ATS)

Founding members / current officers:
Pres Eleinne Basa
VP Daniel Ambrose
Sec Mary Erickson
Treas Donald Demers

About ATS
The American Tonalist Society (ATS) was founded in August 2016, during discussions around the dining room table at Nanatuck, a summer artists’ retreat in Port Clyde, Maine. Prompted by conversations about the current progression of art styles with Don Demers, Mary Erickson and Daniel Ambrose, Eleinne noted through art history the isms, and how they are repeating themselves. We are seeing a resurgence of the tonalist movement now, following the popularity of plein air painting in the 90’s and classical realism in the early part of this century.
The tonalist movement illustrates the departure from emphasis on color, strong contrasts, bravura brushwork, high chroma, and detail. Instead, it focuses on emotion, spirituality, feeling and mood, encompassing luscious, luminous, and vaporous atmospheric effects featuring foggy mornings, evocative moonlit nights with a minimal palette of neutral hues. Like visual poetry, tonalist paintings have a quiet statement of contemplation, mystery, and intrigue.

Mission Statement:
To recognize, promote and showcase the current tonalist movement, and to continue the tradition of the American Tonalists of the 1800s through workshops, exhibitions and catalogues.

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

Painters of the Early Tonalism Movement
Ralph Albert Blakelock American, 1847-1919
Thomas Wilmer Dewing American, 1851-1938] 
Robert Swain Gifford American, 1840-1905
Alexander Thomas Harrison American, 1854 -1929
Lowell Birge Harrison American, 1854-1929
George Inness American, 1825-1894
John La Farge American, 1835-1910
Arthur Frank Mathews American, 1860-1945
John Francis Murphy American, 1853-1921
Albert Pinkham Ryder American, 1847-1917
John Henry Twachtman American,1853-1902
Julian Alden Weir American,1852-1919
James Abbott McNeill Whistler American, 1843-1903

Quote by Innes: the goal of a painting is to awaken emotion…



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