Kent, Rockwell


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Kent, Rockwell,

1882–1971, American painter, muralist, wood engraver, lithographer, book and magazine illustrator, and writer, b. Tarrytown, N.Y. Kent studied with William Merritt ChaseChase, William Merritt,
1849–1916, American painter, b. Williamsburg, Ind., studied in Indianapolis and in Munich under Piloty. In 1878 he began his long career as an influential teacher at the Art Students League of New York and later established his own summer school of
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 and Robert HenriHenri, Robert
, 1865–1929, American painter and teacher, b. Cincinnati as Robert Henry Cozad. He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. In 1888 he went to Paris, where he worked at Julian's and the Beaux-Arts until, dissatisfied with the schools, he set up
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. He lived in Labrador, Alaska, Greenland, and Tierra del Fuego and painted vigorous, exotic landscapes during his travels. His graphic art and his painting are notable for their stark, powerful style. Among his major works are Winter (Metropolitan Mus.), Down to the Sea (Brooklyn Mus.), and Toilers of the Sea (Art Inst., Chicago). He is the author of Wilderness (1921), Voyaging Southward from the Strait of Magellan (1924), Salamina (1935), Greenland Journal (1962), the autobiographical This Is My Own (1940), and the autobiography It's Me, O Lord (1955).

Bibliography

See biography by D. Traxel (1980); catalogs by C. Martin (2000) and J. M. Wien (2005).

Kent, Rockwell

 

Born June 21, 1882, in Tarrytown Heights, N. Y.; died Mar. 13, 1971, in Plattsburgh, N. Y. American artist, writer, and public figure.

Kent studied painting under R. Henri. He worked as a fisherman and carpenter and traveled extensively. He lived in the northern United States, Newfoundland, and Greenland. Developing the traditions of American realist art, Kent executed numerous paintings, drawings, engravings, and lithographs that vividly represented the severe terrain of the northern countries and the life of common people—toilers and fighters (for example, (Toilers of the Sea, 1907, museum in New Britain; Spring Fever, 1908, Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow). He also made antifascist posters and cartoons. Kent illustrated his own works and those by Western European, Russian, and other American authors. His work is marked by the courageous spirituality of the figures, precise, bold lines, and a sonorous palette. In 1960, Kent gave more than 900 of his works to the Soviet people as a gift.

Kent made his literary debut in 1920, with the publication of Wilderness (Russian translation, 1965), a book about Alaska. In the books N By E (1930; Russian translation, 1962), Salamina (1935; Russian translation, 1962), and Greenland Diary (1962; Russian translation, 1969), which together constitute a unique saga about Greenland, he vividly depicted the life and work of the Eskimo and provided fascinating descriptions of the North. Kent’s autobiographical works This Is My Own (1940) and It’s Me O Lord (1955; Russian translation, 1965) reveal a broad panorama of the social life of the USA from the late 19th to the mid-20th century. His book Of Men and Mountains (1959) is primarily devoted to impressions from his journey throughout the USSR in 1958.

A courageous fighter for peace and democracy, Kent spoke out against the menace of fascism as early as the 1930’s. He participated in the first World Congress of the Partisans of Peace (Paris and Prague, 1949) and was one of the sponsors and authors of the historic Stockholm Peace Appeal (March 1950). He was also a delegate to the World Congress on General Disarmament and Peace (Moscow, July 1962). In 1955, Kent became a member of the World Peace Council; and in 1957, the chairman of the National Council on Soviet-American Friendship. In 1962 he was made an honorary member of the Academy of Arts of the USSR. In 1967, Kent was awarded the International Lenin Prize for Strengthening Peace Between Nations.

REFERENCES

[Chegodaev, A. D.] Rokuell Kent: Zhivopis’, Grafika, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1964.
Chegodaev, A. D. “Pero i kist’ Rokuella Kenta.” Literaturnaia gazeta. Mar. 24, 1971.

K. P. KUDROV

Kent, Rockwell

(1882–1971) painter, graphic artist; born in Tarrytown, N.Y. He studied with William Merritt Chase in New York (1897–1900), and worked in many mediums, including oil, water color, pen and ink, wood block, and lithography. He traveled widely and was involved in many progressive social causes. His work was noted for its strong geometric composition and his bold use of light and dark, as in Toilers of the Sea (1907). He became most widely known for his book illustrations.
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