Maker: John Frederick Kensett , American, 1816 - 1872
Date: ca. 1850-1855
Dimensions: 12 x 18 1/4 in. (30.5 x 46.4 cm.)
Medium: oil on canvas
Credit Line: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Purchased with funds from the Art Collectors' Council
Object Number: 2002.14
Label Text: Woodland Interior captures an intimate encounter with nature. Kensett's lively brushwork suggests that he created the work outdoors. The dense network of intertwined tree branches demonstrates Kensett's interest in depicting line, a legacy of his early career as an engraver. Kensett's fascination with detail may have been the result of his familiarity with the work of American Transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, as well as British aesthetician John Ruskin, all of whom advocated close study of nature as a means of becoming closer to God. The painting resulted from a summer sketching trip Kensett took in the 1850s, during which he painted small scenes directly from nature that he later referred to when creating epic landscapes, like Rocky Landscape, back in his studio. Kensett's oil sketches were particularly admired by his artist friends, and Woodland Interior was included in the retrospective exhibition held at the National Academy after his untimely death in 1872.