Sunday, December 25, 2011


Rockwell Kent

Rockwell Kent was a graphic designer, illustrator (Shakespeare, Melville, his own books and a myriad more) painter, explorer, author, humanitarian, social activist who traveled to and lived in many climates of the world. He was also a builder: building homes for himself and his mother (later owned by a Wyeth family) on Monhegan Island, Maine. We traveled there in 1980 to find each one — practical, handsome. His last homestead was in the northern Adirondacks of New York State. When Kent died, The New York Times described him as "... a thoughtful, troublesome, profoundly independent, odd and kind man who made an imperishable contribution to the art of bookmaking in the United States." This cursory summing-up of an American life has been superseded by richer, more accurate accounts of the scope of the artist's influential life as a painter and writer. Reappraisals of the artist's life and work have been mounted, most recently by the Portland (Maine) Museum of Art in the summer of 2005. We spent one whole day there for that, earning ourselves a towing away of our pickup truck! Kent died in 1971 at age 88.

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