John Frederick Kensett Biography | Oil Paintings
3-22-1816 Cheshire, USA - 12-14-1872 New York, USABack to Artist IndexView Artists Paintings
John Frederick Kensett studied engraving first with his father, and later with his uncle who was a banknote engraver. He worked as an engraver in the New Haven area until 1838, then moved to went to New York City and worked as a bank note engraver.
In 1840, at the age of twenty-four, he along with friends Asher Durand and John William Casilear, and Thom Rossiter sailed to Europe to study painting. There he met and traveled with Benjamin Champney, visiting artists, and art museums, and refining their talents as they sketched and painted throughout England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy while sending their art back to America to be exhibited or sold. During this period, John Frederick Kensett developed an appreciation and fondness for seventeenth-century Dutch landscape painting. Kensett and Champney's long European trip came to an end in 1847 when they returned to the United States.
After settling in New York in 1847, and setting up his art studio in the New York University Building, he was that same year elected as an Associate of the National Academy of Design and the following year he became a full member.
John Frederick Kensett is associated with the Hudson River School's "second generation" of painters which included Sanford Robinson Gifford, Fitz Henry Lane, Jasper Francis Cropsey, and Martin Johnson Heade, they came to be known as the Luminists, oil paintings characterized by invisible brushstrokes used to convey the qualities and effects of atmospheric light.
In 1851 John Frederick Kensett painted a monumental oil painting that has become an icon of White Mountain art. Mount Washington from the Valley of Conway was purchased by the American Art Union, then made into an engraving, and sent to its 13,000 subscribers throughout the country. The AAU was a subscription-based union with the function of educating the public about the latest trends in American art. For five dollars a year, (equal $150 today) the members of the AAU received a copy of the minutes, free admission to their Gallery, and one engraving from an original piece of art by a contemporary American artist. Other artists painted reproductions of this painting from the engraving. Currier and Ives published a similar print in about 1860. This painting by Kensett helped to popularize the White Mountain region of New Hampshire as a tourist destination.
In 1854 he traveled to England and Scotland on a painting excursion and in 1870 he took his last long painting trip along with Sanford Gifford and Worthington Whittredge to Colorado and the Rocky Mountains.
John Frederick Kensett's painting style evolved from the traditional Hudson River School of the 1850s into the more refined Luminist style in his later years. He was renowned and successful during his lifetime and generous in support of the arts and other artists and a founder and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Art Movement: Luminism, Hudson River School.
Artists Influencing John Frederick Kensett: Thomas Cole.
He Traveled To France, Italy, Netherlands, England, France, Germany, Switzerland, Italy.
Artist's Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.