Twilight on the Sound, Darien, Connecticut

Artist: John Frederick Kensett (American, Cheshire, Connecticut 1816–1872 New York)

Date: 1872

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 11 1/2 x 24 1/2 in. (29.2 x 62.2 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Gift of Thomas Kensett, 1874

Accession Number: 74.24


This exquisite view and Kensett's "Passing Off of the Storm", with their identical size, comparable features and scale, and varying weather effects, might almost have been made as pendants or even conceived as part of a larger, open-ended series of expansive views of Long Island Sound, on which the artist then lived. Kensett, of course, had become renowned for his paintings of Newport, Rhode Island; Beverly, Massachusetts; and the Shrewsbury River on New Jersey's Atlantic Shore. What sets the Metropolitan paintings apart from those works is their extreme horizontality (the format twice as wide as it is high) and the elimination of foreground. This resulted in designs distantly reminiscent of J. M. W. Turner's paintings of Venice and the Italian lakes. Much more accessible to Kensett were his colleague Sanford Gifford's Turneresque interpretations of the same subjects as well as Gifford's similarly designed prospects from the shores of the Hudson River.