Kenyon College

Esopus Creek


Artist: John Kensett
Title of Work: Esopus Creek
Year: 1850
Dimensions: 12″ x12″
Material: Oil on masonite board
Photo Line: Canton Museum of Art
Collection Credit: Purchased by the Canton Museum of Art

 The painters of the Hudson River School imbued their works with sublime perfection and pastoral loveliness of a by-gone era. The rural landscape symbolized the natural glory of America as well as a yearning for a Jeffersonian ideal in an age of rapid industrialization and capitalistic motivations. John Kensett originally began his artistic career as a bank note engraver in New York in 1838. He painted Esopus Creek ten years after traveling to Europe to study painting, and, like many artists of his generation, the American wilderness spoke to him. A tributary of the Hudson River, Esopus creek and the surrounding scenery inspired a sense of American purity and nostalgia in Kensett. By the time of the work’s completion, the area had already become industrialized with logging operations and charcoal manufacturing. His work offers the viewer a piece of American nature untouched by the hand of the modern age.

–Lily Kaizer ‘12 Gund Gallery Associate