Object Image

Rocky Pool, Bash Bish Falls

In contrast to the heroic western landscapes of his contemporary Albert Bierstadt, John Kensett's landscapes were of popular tourist sites in the east, all within easy reach of railroad stations and hotels. When he painted Bash Bish Falls, the site in southwestern Massachusetts was already a fashionable destination made famous for its eighty-foot-high twin waterfalls. Using a dramatic vertical composition, Kensett captures a sense of fresh discovery, as if the tiny red-clad figures on the cliff are the first visitors to come upon this secret woodland. Trained in his youth as an engraver of maps and bank notes, Kensett carried over his care for detailed draftsmanship to his work as a leading fig...

Oil on paper
76.2 x 63.5cm
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Yale University Art Gallery
Permanent collection