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Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBook burners, 1951.

Vamos con uno de los grandes: Rockwell Kent. Este talento multifacético (periodista y ensayista, además de pintor y agitador social) hizo de su activísima y viajera existencia su mejor obra. Además, enriqueció el arte estadounidense con una cantidad ingente de grabados, lienzos, dibujos y litografías a caballo entre el simbolismo a lo William Blake y el paisajismo reconcentrado de ecos místico-románticos (porqué no, Friedrich... no en cuanto a técnica, pero sí en aliento). Un monstruo cuyo legado, obviamente, excede el limitado espacio que aquí puedo otorgarle, pero que, aun así, trataré de presentaros lo mejor posible con la siguiente selección gráfica.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usGreyhound. 1931.

"If to the viewer's eyes, my world appears less beautiful than his, I'm to be pitied and the viewer praised".

Rockwell Kent

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMother and Child. 1919.

Esta biografía la he extraído de la página web de la Plattsburgh State University de New York (

Artist, author, and political activist, Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) had a long and varied career. During his lifetime, he worked as an architectural draftsman, illustrator, printmaker, painter, lobsterman, ship's carpenter, and dairy farmer. He was born in Tarrytown, New York, was well educated in art. He did his first significant work at Monhegan Island, Maine. Later he traveled widely, doing other landscape work. He also did a great deal of work illustrating working people, serving as an illustrator for The Masses, a popular left-wing magazine.

Image Hosted by At Peace. 1940.

Kent had an unusually long and thorough training as an artist. He was a student at the Horace Mann School in New York City and subsequently studied architecture at Columbia University, toward the end of which he felt a strong inclination toward painting and took up the study of art under William Merritt Chase at the Shinnecock Hills School.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usStarry Night. 1933.

He studied later at the New York School, under Robert Henri and Kenneth Hayes Miller, and finally as an apprentice to Abbott Thayer at Dublin, New Hampshire. Henri encouraged him to go to Monhegan Island where Kent painted on his own. He was absorbed in the awesome power of the environment; nature's timeless energy and contrasting forces influenced his work throughout his lifetime. His early and lasting relationship with the sea was portrayed again and again in his work.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usNightmare. 1941.

In 1902, he entered Chase’s on a scholarship and by 1908 he had his first one man art show and had married Kathleen Whiting. Together they explored Monhegan Island, MA, Newfoundland, Vermont and the Adirondacks, NY.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDeep water

Approach in 1926 by publisher R. R. Donnelley to produce an illustrated edition of Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast, Kent suggested Moby Dick instead. Published in 1930, the deluxe edition sold out immediately; a lower-priced Random House edition became a Book-of-the-Month Club selection. A previously obscure book, Moby Dick was rediscovered by critics in the 1920s. The success of the Rockwell Kent illustrated edition was a factor in its becoming the recognized classic it is today.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPrometheus, 1931.

Kent both wrote and illustrated several books; Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska was published in 1920. Among his other works were Voyaging Southward from the Strait of Magellan (1924); Salamina (1934) about Greenland; and two autobiographies, This is My Own (1940) and It's me O Lord (1955).

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And women must weep. 1927-28.

A political activist, Rockwell Kent championed social causes from the 1930's until his death. Although Kent insisted that he never belonged to the Communist party, his consistent support of radical causes contributed to a decline in his artistic popularity during the 1940s and 1950s. In the latter decade, the State Department revoked his passport.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usTwilight of Man. 1926.

Kent sued for its reinstatement and emerged victorious in landmark Supreme Court case. He became very popular in the Soviet Union, and in 1957, half a million Russians attended an exhibition of his work. Subsequently, he donated eighty paintings and eight hundred prints and drawings to the Russian people. In 1967, he was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBrewster Coachworks

The graphic art tradition in which Rockwell Kent worked was not that of the Post-Impressionist or abstract International style, but rather an older and somewhat English style. Hogarth, Blake, Constable, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the British illustrators were his artistic antecedents. His work is most frequently identified with that of the American Social Realists and the great muralists of the 1920s and 1930s.

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Sally. 1945-49.

Kent's figure-studies show with what perseverance he worked to perfect his draftsmanship and his ability to portray the human form in any pose or manner; his architectural training enabled him to draw objects accurately and convincingly.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usDear Ancient.

His experience as a carpenter and builder and his familiarity with tools served him well when he took up the graphic process. His blocks were marvels of beautiful cutting, every line deliberate and under perfect control. The tones and lines in his lithography were solidly built up, subtle, and full of color.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usVoyaging. 1924.

He usually made preliminary studies- old-mater style- for composition or detail before starting on a print. Nothing was vague or accidental about his work; his expression was clear and deliberate. Neither misty tonalities nor suggestiveness were to his taste. He was a highly objectified art - clean, athletic, sometimes almost austere and cold. He either recorded adventures concretely, or dealt in ideas. His studio was a model of the efficient workshop: neat, orderly, with everything in its place. His handwriting, the fruit of his architectural training, was beautiful and precise.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usVenus and Adonis. 1936.

Kent stands out in American art in his use of symbolism. Humanity was the hero in most of his prints, which are symbolic representations of certain intuitions about life's destiny and the meaning of existence. Many of the prints seem to depict humanity in a struggle to capture ultimate reality, to penetrate into the mystery of the dark night of the universe, and to discover the reasons for existence. Over the Ultimate is a tragic but, at the same time, heroic conception. Consider the mood of wonder in Starlight, of terror in The End, the exultation of Pinnacle.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEx Libris. 1923.

The fact that Rockwell Kent never worked in the tradition of the Post-Impressionists had considerable effect on critical and public response to his work. In the 1920s, he was a rising young printmaker; and in the 1930s, he reached his greatest popularity.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMala, 1933.

In 1936, the magazine Prints conducted an extensive and elaborate survey on the practitioners of graphic art in the United States. Kent came out far ahead of all others as the most widely known and successful printmaker in the country. Few artists have experienced such fluctuations in the public esteem of their work as has Kent, from extravagant praise to fanatic denunciation, usually based on nonaesthetic considerations or on a misunderstanding of the real import of his prints and paintings.

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Come,come, Be patient; we must bring you to our captain. 1936.

He was a victim of McCarthyism during the 1950s. As a devotee of realistic art, he had also fallen from popular favor. When abstract modern art became better known and accepted in the 1940s, Kent's popularity suffered a commensurate decline. This fall from grace was compounded when he began to espouse unpopular leftist causes; his work was denounced for political reasons. Only now do we have the perspective to look at his work with a receptive and unprejudiced eye.

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Clover Fields—Asgaard. 1939-40.

Few artists become legends in their own time, but Rockwell Kent has been acclaimed as such and remains one of the great twentieth-century American artists. Persuaded against an art career by his family, he enrolled in the Columbia University School of Architecture in 1900. Still motivated by an interest in art, Kent took summer and night courses at Chase’s New York School and the New York School of Art.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWayside Madonna. 1927.

A great artist-adventurer, Kent’s travels took him throughout America and to countries around the world including Ireland, Cape Horn, Labrador, Greenland, Denmark, Sweden and Russia. Kent was particularly interested in Russia and his outspoken socialist politics caused controversy throughout his life and cost him his passport in the 1950’s. A court battle restored his right to travel, and he eventually gave his own collection of his paintings, drawings and graphic works to the Soviet Union.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAmerican Export Lines.

In 1967 he received the Lenin Peace Prize and donated part of the award to North Vietnam. In testimony to his greatness as an American artist, his obituary appeared on the front page of the New York Times in 1971.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usSea and Sky. 1931.

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