William Kienbusch (1914–1980) first came to Maine in the late 1930s to study at the Eliot O’Hara Watercolor School at Goose Rocks Beach. He later returned, spending time in Stonington and then Trevett before buying a house on Great Cranberry in 1965. He treasured his home away from New York City; as he once stated, “When I come to Maine, I start seeing again.” Kienbusch’s work, mainly in casein and oil pastel, focused on a variety of island motifs ranging from the apple tree in his backyard to the ledges that rise out of the sea. Among his favorite subjects were goldenrod and the bell buoy, both of which he painted many times. He was close to many artists in Maine, including Dorothy Eisner, Francis Hamabe and Gretna Campbell.
His work was subject to a memorial retrospective at the Colby College Museum of Art, organized by Hugh Gourley, and at his alma mater, Princeton University, in 1980–1981. In addition to exhibiting at Kraushaar Gallery in New York City for much of life, Kienbusch had major shows at the Portland Museum of Art and the Farnsworth Art Museum. His work is represented in Maine and Its Role in American Art; Alexander Eliot’s Three Hundred Years of American Painting; Alan Gussow’s groundbreaking A Sense of Place: The Artist and the American Land; and the catalogue for the landmark exhibition at the Maine Coast Artists, “On the Edge: Forty Years of Maine Painting 1952– 1992,” curated by critic Theodore Wolff.