Mark Beale, “Contemplation,” oil, 24 x 30 inches

Artists George Inness and James McNeill Whistler were two of the leading champions of tonalism, an artistic style that emerged in the 1880s, when painters began to image landscape forms with an overall tone of colored atmosphere or mist. The style beautifully survives through the work of this painter in Charleston, South Carolina.

Reinert Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina, is overjoyed to be currently showcasing the magnetic paintings of artist Mark Beale, a self-described tonalist. The solo exhibition will feature 12 to 15 works of the coastal sea islands near Charleston. “The perspective is unusual,” according to the gallery, “in that most are painted from the water looking toward the coastline. Beale has developed this style based on 40 years of boating along the coastal south. The show features pieces focused on times of changing light such as dusk, sunset, and moonrise and exuding an atmospheric quality. A sense of timelessness is evoked in many of the works, as Beale typically includes only elements of the pure landscape itself or primitive skiffs and dwellings.”

Mark Beale, “Southern Nights,” oil, 11 x 14 inches

“The water gets in your blood,” Beale adds. “I didn’t know it at the time, but early on I was falling in love with the coastal landscape.” At the age of 14, Beale began attending workshops conducted by Barclay Sheaks and later studied with Theodore Turner at the University of Virginia. After seeing the tonalist paintings of George Inness and Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot, Beale had an unwavering desire to pursue the style. He first went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to see the Inness works, exploring even work in the process of restoration in the back rooms of the museum. Beale then contacted the Spanierman Gallery in New York City and was allowed to hold and study under magnification many of Inness’s private works in the gallery’s collection. Later, being invited to exhibit at the Salmagundi Club became of the first pinnacles of his career.

Mark Beale, “Sunset Over Backwaters,” oil, 12 x 16 inches

Reinert Fine Art owner Rick Reinert said, “Mark Beale’s work portrays the Lowcountry in an authentic way … exactly what guests to our city are looking for and exactly what our locals admire. Feelings of peace, serenity, and calm resonate from any Mark Beale creation.”

To learn more, visit Reinert Fine Art.

This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster
Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.

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