Summer Day on Conesus Lake

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

Date: 1870

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 24 1/8 x 36 3/8 in. (61.3 x 92.4 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Bequest of Collis P. Huntington, 1900

Accession Number: 25.110.5


The smallest and westernmost of the eleven Finger Lakes of New York State, Conesus Lake was a popular summer resort visited frequently by Kensett to socialize with Robert M. Olyphant, one of his ardent friends and patrons, who owned a home there. The artist's portrayal of the scene, a counterpoint of lake surface and recumbent terrain supporting towering trees, creates a classic stage suited to the genteel parties—boating, picnicking, promenading, or simply relaxing—in and out of the groves sheltering the bank. Kensett's artistic training in Britain in the 1840s seems revealed by the evocation here of earlier English views along the Thames River, for example, below Richmond Hill.