Rockwell Kent (American, 1882-1971)
March, Greenland, 1932-1933
Oil on canvas mounted on board 34 in. x 44 in. (86.36 cm x 111.76 cm)
Crocker Art Museum Purchase, conserved with funds provided by Louise and Victor Graf1975.25
Rockwell Kent enjoyed a long and varied career. Although best known as an artist, he was also an author, political activist, architectural draftsman, illustrator, printmaker, potter, and designer of decorative arts. Kent was born in Tarrytown Heights, New York, and first attended the Cheshire Academy and, in 1896, the Horace Mann School in New York City, where he studied woodworking and mechanical drawing. At the turn of the century, he studied with William Merritt Chase at his summer school at Shinnecock, Long Island, and became a student at Columbia University’s School of Architecture. Increasingly drawn to fine art, he dropped out just before his senior year and enrolled full time at the New York School of Art, where his teachers included Chase, Kenneth Hayes Miller, and Robert Henri. He also became Abbott Thayer’s assistant at his New Hampshire studio and later married Thayer’s niece, Kathleen Whiting, with whom he had five children. Kent was an avid traveler, particularly to colder climates such as Newfoundland, Alaska, and Greenland. He wrote and illustrated books about his travels, including Salamina about Greenland, where he worked in 1929, 1931–32, and 1934. He traveled to locations by dog sled and painted the landscape, producing powerfully reductive snow-clad vistas. In these paintings, Kent presents nature as sublime and imbued with transcendental meaning, continuing 19th-century traditions but with a modernist’s eye for form.