A key figure in the American art scene during the last half of the nineteenth century, artist John Frederick Kensett had to save and wait before he would be able to begin his formal art studies.
He was born the son of an engraver in 1818 and worked in the profession through the 1830s. Throughout this period he was practicing his painting and hoping to eventually have formal lessons. He was encouraged to submit to the National Academy of Design's exhibition of 1838, and his work was accepted and received favorable reviews.
He then decided to head to Europe to continue working as an engraver while he visited museums and took classes. With a commission from a Philadelphia firm he was able to make a living and enjoy classes at the Ecole Pr�paration des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he also frequently copied drawings in the Louvre.
He made sketching journeys to England as well as visits to many British galleries, where he studied the paintings of Constable and the old Dutch Masters. He stayed for two years in Rome before returning to the United States in 1847. He found almost immediate success through his submissions to the Academy's exhibition and he was quickly a key figure in the New York and American art scene. He was made a full member of the National Academy in 1849.
He is considered one of the country's most important landscape painters of the era, and an heir to the Hudson River School tradition, though a great deal of the Luminist technique is at work in many of his paintings as well.
His works are in many major museums and collections including the White House Collection, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among many others.