Scott R. Ferris, author and specialist on the artwork of Rockwell Kent, the Avenue
Specialist in the artwork of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971)
Essays on Rockwell Kent
The following statement served as
the catalogue entry for The Avenue in
American & European Paintings & Prints; Skinner (Boston) auction
Sale 2507, May 21, 2010.
Artwork in the public domain.
The Avenue, alternatively titled Th'Avenue
Signed "Hogarth Jr." in pen upper right; titled in pen, lower center; annotated in ink, on
verso: "Rockwell Kent/1262 Richmond Terrace./Staten Island."
Ink on paper/board, 8 x 10 1/16 in. (20.3 x 25.6 cm), framed.
Literature: Vanity Fair, January 1916, p. 50, and Chappell, George S., A Basket of Poses, New
York: Albert and Charles Boni, 1924.
The drawing of a busy city avenue scene—replete with cold-weather-bundled dainties and a gendarme directing
a bustle of sport cars, buses and limousines—first appeared as an illustration to George S. Chappell's "poetic
panorama," "Th' Avenue." The published caption for this illustration is partially incorrect in that it refers
to the drawing as "a rare wood engraving" by William Hogarth, Jr. Although the attribution to William
Hogarth, Jr.—Rockwell Kent's pseudonym—is correct, the illustration is indeed a brush (possibly pen as
well) and ink drawing. (Kent's drawings were often misidentified as wood engravings or woodcuts.)
Kent collaborated with George S. Chappell on numerous publication ventures throughout the second and third
decades of the twentieth century, many of which appeared in Vanity Fair and Puck. Kent
and Chappell knew each other from professional architectural circles; the Ewing and Chappell architectural
firm, based in New York City, began as the result of a commission from Kent's mother, Sarah—a house designed
by her architecturally trained son; Kent worked off and on as a draftsman for Ewing and Chappell (during
the first two decades).
This particular illustration, and the poem "Th' Avenue," was reprinted in A Basket of Poses—an
anthology of Kent's and Chappell's satirical collaborations.