John Frederick Kensett Landscape Art - "Waterfall," White Mountains or Catskills Hudson River School Landscape Scene
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John Frederick Kensett
"Waterfall," White Mountains or Catskills Hudson River School Landscape Scene

About

John Frederick Kensett (1816 - 1872) Waterfall Watercolor and gouache on paper 10 x 7 inches Provenance: Thomas Colville Fine Art, Connecticut New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut (Purchased from the above using the John Butler Talcott Fund in September 1975) Winter Associates, Plainville, Connecticut, before 1994 Private Collection Private Collection, Bellmore, New York A member of the second generation of the Hudson River School of artists, Kensett's signature works are landscape paintings of New England and New York State, whose clear light and serene surfaces celebrate transcendental qualities of nature, and are associated with Luminism. Kensett's early work owed much to the influence of Thomas Cole, but was from the outset distinguished by a preference for cooler colors and an interest in less dramatic topography, favoring restraint in both palette and composition. The work of Kensett's maturity features tranquil scenery depicted with a spare geometry, culminating in series of paintings in which coastal promontories are balanced against glass-smooth water. He worked as engraver in the New Haven area until about 1838, then went to work as a bank note engraver in New York City. In 1840, along with Asher Durand and John William Casilear, Kensett traveled to Europe in order to study painting. There he met and traveled with Benjamin Champney. The two sketched and painted throughout Europe, refining their talents. During this period, Kensett developed an appreciation and affinity for 17th century Dutch landscape painting. Kensett and Champney returned to the United States in 1847 and was one of the first tenants of the famed Tenth Street Studio building in 1858, along with John LaFarge, Frederick E. Church, John Casilear, Sanford Robinson Gifford, Jervis McEntee and William Stanley Haseltine. By the early 1870s Kensett was spending considerable time at his home on Contentment Island, on Long Island Sound near Darien, Connecticut. After establishing his studio and settling in New York, Kensett traveled extensively throughout the Northeast and the Colorado Rockies as well as making several trips back to Europe. Kensett is best known for his landscape of upstate New York and New England and seascapes of coastal New Jersey, Long Island, and New England. He is most closely associated with the "second generation" of the Hudson River School. Along with Sanford Robinson Gifford, Fitz Henry Lane, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Martin Johnson Heade and others, the works of the "Luminists", as they came to be known, were characterized by unselfconscious, nearly invisible brushstrokes used to convey the qualities and effects of atmospheric light. Such effects stemmed from Transcendentalist philosophies of sublime nature and contemplation bringing one closer to a spiritual truth.  The artist was widely acclaimed and financially successful during his lifetime. In turn, he was generous in support of the arts and artists. He was a full member of the National Academy of Design, the founder and president of the Artists' Fund Society, and a founder and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In 1874, after the artist's death, Kensett's brother Thomas gave thirty-eight of his paintings to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, of which half remain in the collection.

Details

  • Dimensions
    H 7 in. x W 10 in.H 17.78 cm x W 25.4 cm
  • Gallery Location
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number
    LU115624480672
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