John Frederick Kensett was born on March 22, 1816 in Cheshire, Connecticut. His artistic career began as an engraver, but in 1840 Kensett went to study painting in England and France. There he studied the works of the Old Masters along with Asher B. Durand and John William Casilear. He took particular inspiration from the Dutch landscape masters.
Upon returning to the United Sates in 1848, he was a highly skilled artist and quickly became became established in the New York art world. His style would transitioned over the next few years from the pastoral Hudson River School style into what is known as Luminism. John Frederick Kensett emphasized light and atmosphere in his paintings.
He died in 1872 of phemonia. His studio at the time contained a several unfinished paintings that are now known as Last Summer’s Work. These works stunned the New York art world and were regarded as absolute works of genius.
John Frederick Kensett is known as one of the leading Hudson River School artists. He was a full member of the National Academy of Design, the founder and president of the Artists’ Fund Society, and a founder and trustee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.