John Frederick Kensett (American, 1816–1872)
Oil on canvas
34 3/8 x 27 1/4 in. (87.3 x 69.2 cm)
Gift of Thomas Kensett, 1874 (74.38)
Diminutive figures amid the tangle of trees at center left only accentuate the monumentality of the lone pitch pine rising bonsai-tree-like from boulders lining the shore near Kensett's island studio off Darien, Connecticut. Compositions of essentially a single motif are not unknown in the artist's oeuvre but they are unusual; more characteristically, the tree and shore here would offset a wide vista of sky and water in a horizontally shaped format. However, confirming the artist's focus on a single arboreal motif is the relative neutrality and homogenous texture of the sky and water, which are not fully realized and remain something of an afterthought. If anything, the apparent neglect only enhances the inherent expressiveness, even eloquence, of the subject.