October in the Marshes, ca. 1872
John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816–1872)
Oil on canvas; 18 1/2 x 30 1/2 in. (47 x 77.5 cm)
Gift of Thomas Kensett, 1874 (74.25)
For Kensett in his late career, such relatively elaborate compositions dominated by terrestrial motifs that suppress the prospect into distant space were unusual. As in his Twilight in the Pines, Darien, Connecticut, Kensett's vision here may have been informed by exposure to French Barbizon-style painting or its reflection in the art of George Inness, whose work began to command favorable attention from critics and patrons in the post–Civil War years. However, marsh scenes such as this one have precedents in Kensett's own work of the early 1860s, when he painted several brooding portraits of the marshes at Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island.