Kensett, John Frederic
American painter of the second generation of the Hudson River School, renowned for his painstaking attention to detail and atmosphere. Born in Cheshire, Connecticut, Kensett initially worked as an engraver with his father, Thomas Kensett, and later with his uncle, Alfred Daggett, a bank-note engraver. John Frederic Kensett gradually took up painting, greatly influenced in this regard by travels abroad. In 1840 he went to Europe with Asher Durand, one of the founders of the Hudson River School, and remained there after Durand's return, spending several years in England and Italy, and exhibiting his works at the Royal Academy in London in 1845.
On returning to America in 1848 John Frederic Kensett began a successful career as a landscape painter. Showing more variety than many of his contemporaries, he took an interest in stark beach scenes and rocky coasts in the neighborhood of Newport, Rhode Island, as well as in the many aspects of the Catskill Mountains in New York. His early artwork shows the careful technique of his training as an engraver, but his later oil paintings are marked by hazy, atmospheric effects that seem to immerse the viewer more deeply in the spirit of nature.
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