An October Day in the White Mountains

An October Day in the White Mountains


John Frederick Kensett

(American, 1816-1872)

Oil on canvas

Framed: 107.6 x 152.1 x 12.7 cm (42 3/8 x 59 7/8 x 5 in.); Unframed: 79.8 x 123.5 cm (31 7/16 x 48 5/8 in.)

John L. Severance Fund and various donors by exchange 1967.5


Trained as an engraver, Kensett shifted to landscape paintings as a young man. In the summer of 1850, when he was 39, Kensett toured the White Mountains in New Hampshire and sketched this view of Mount Chocurua with the Saco River winding beneath it. Shortly afterward, he created this painting of the scene, which he exhibited at the National Academy of Design in 1855. Unlike earlier American landscapists, such as Thomas Cole, who reveled in stormy skies and rocky chasms, Kensett's paintings, such as this one, tend to be peaceful in feeling. Kensett was particularly interested in the subtle changes of color and clarity that occur as objects recede into the distance, an effect known as "atmospheric perspective."

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