Where Did Kensett Paint His ‘Lake George?’ Experts Disagree
In the summer of 1869, John Frederick Kensett rowed from the hotel on Mohican Point “to Crown Island, with a sandwich and brushes,” according to his own notes.
There, on the island’s north shore, he began composing the view that would become famous as “Lake George.”
That, at any rate, has long been the view of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which owns the painting, curators, scholars and the residents of Crown Island themselves, who say that decades of studying the familiar vista and the painting itself have only confirmed the authority of Kensett’s own notes.
Now landscape painter and independent scholar Anne Diggory has challenged that consensus,
According to Diggory, who published an article about the controversy last summer in the Metropolitan Museum Journal and who recently discussed her research at The Hyde, the view in the painting is actually painted from Homer Point.
Kensett, she argues, ‘heightened Black Mountain by 30 to 50 percent, partly to achieve an effect of sublimity like that of his Hudson River paintings … ‘”
Crown Island resident Chris Meigher remains unconvinced. Her identification of the islands in the left of the image as Clay, Recluse and Little Recluse is simply mistaken, he said.
Diggory’s thesis is presented in the March/April issue of Adirondack Life in an article about the Saratoga resident by Jay Rogoff.
According to Adirondack Life editorial director Betsy Folwell, the issue is devoted entirely to visual art, primarily photography.
Many of the photographs published in the issue, which will be on newsstands as of February 16, will be featured in a special exhibition at View, a gallery in Old Forge, later this spring.