John F. Kensett

(1816-1872)

John F. Kensett apprenticed with the engraver Peter Maverick around 1829 and found himself a job at Daggett and Ely, engravers in New Haven for the next six years. He began his career as a banknote engraver until 1838 when he was encouraged to pursuit the arts. Kensett spent 7 years in Europe studying painting. He returned in 1847 and by the mid '50's had become a leading painter in the Hudson River School. The 1860s were the height of Kensett's career as a Luminist working with atmospheric landscapes. At the age of 56, Kensett died trying to save a drowning woman on an ocean inlet. More than 600 works were left in his studio at the time of death. Many powerful portraits of rocks that bear infinite weight, depth and peace were found. Kensett's work can be divided into four major categories; shorelines, mountains and water from above viewpoint, mountain lake scenes from lower viewpoint and woodland interiors. Kensett held full membership at the National Academy of Design in 1849. In 1870 he became a founder and later trustee of the Metropolitan Museum.