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Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

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John Frederick Kensett, American, 1816-1872

Mount Washington, New Hampshire
About 1854
Oil on canvas
Gift of Robert A. and Dorothy H. Goldberg in honor of Harold M. Friedman M.D.; P.987.34.30


One of the most prominent artists to paint in the White Mountains, John Frederick Kensett first visited the region in 1850, when he stopped in North Conway with Boston painter Benjamin Champney, whom he had first met when studying in Rome. Kensett returned to the White Mountains many times throughout the decade, joining fellow New York and Boston artists including Champney, who by 1854 had purchased a summer home in North Conway. Painted from sketches made during his first visit, Kensett’s monumental Mount Washington from the Valley of Conway (1851, Davis Museum, Wellesley College) was widely reproduced in print form and became the single most effective mid-nineteenth-century advertisement for the scenic value of the region. This more modest painting, with Mount Washington visible in the distance, is probably a study for a larger composition. It is nonetheless typical of Kensett’s work from the mid-1850s in its subdued grayish-green palette, hazy pearlescent light, and direct interpretation of a closely observed scene. By the 1860s, Kensett would move still further from the majestic and balanced paintings associated with the Hudson River school to create hauntingly still and reductive compositions—particularly coastal scenes—bathed in glowing light. This is one of many works depicting the White Mountains that North Conway collectors Robert A. and Dorothy H. Goldberg donated to the museum in 1986 and 1987.

Last Updated: 4/17/09