John Frederick Kensett (American, Cheshire, Connecticut 1816–1872 New York)
Oil on canvas
34 3/8 x 27 1/4 in. (87.3 x 69.2 cm)
Gift of Thomas Kensett, 1874
Not on view
The varieties of transparent light and air along New England's coast preoccupied Kensett throughout the last decade of his life. In 1872, the year of his death, he spent the entire summer painting on his island, called Contentment, in Long Island Sound off Darien, Connecticut, painting the local sky, water, rocks, and trees in compositions such as this one. Among the so-called "last summer's work" that Kensett's brother, Thomas, donated to the Metropolitan Museum in 1874, this picture is somewhat unusual in its almost reverent devotion to tree portraiture. The deliberate application typifying the artist's style possesses little of the summary elegance of Japanese ink-painting, yet both his subject and his delicacy of touch evoke Asian art.
Marking: [stamped on canvas on the back] WILLIAMS STEVENS WILLIAMS / Looking Glass Ware Rooms / & ART REPOSITORY / Engravings Art Materials / 353 BROADWAY NEW YORK / 27 x 34
the artist, New York (until d. 1872); his brother, Thomas Kensett, New York (1872–74)