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Sold at Auction: John Frederick Kensett

Landscape painterNaval painter


(b Cheshire, Connecticut, 1818; d New York, New York, 1872) American Painter. John Frederick Kensett attended Cheshire Academy and studied engraving with his immigrant father and uncle. He worked as a bank note engraver in New York City in 1823. In 1840, he traveled abroad to study painting, and developed an appreciation for 17th century Dutch landscape paintings. Kensett is most notable for his landscape paintings of New England, and he is most closely associated with the Second Generation Hudson River School, also known as the Luminists. The Luminists was a group of artists, such as Federic Edwin Church and Fitz Henry Lane, characterized by their unselfconscious and invisible brushstrokes used to convey the qualities of atmospheric light, created an almost spiritual counterpart to the Impressionists. The artist’s patiently elaborated landscape studies made from nature, gained him numerous admirers and liberal patrons. In his painting, ‘Entrance to New Harbor,’ he studiously explored and faithfully painted the landscape of the Eastern seacoast. The painting’s silvery palette, allows the real subject matters, the color, light, and atmosphere, envelop and crystallize the scene. Also, Kensett’s use of juxtaposition of the compact landmasses with great horizontal expanse of sky and water, endows the scene with the feeling of tranquility and spiritual infinity. (Credit: Christie’s New York, American Paintings, December 1, 2005, Lot 66)
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