Specialist in the artwork of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971)
Essays on Rockwell Kent

1 Rockwell Kent to Dan Burne Jones, 27 April 1960, The Dan Burne Jones Papers.

2 Ibid. Kent also admits in this sentence that he is partially responsible for the build-up of his collection due to his "own unwillingness to stoop to the demands of the marketplace."

3 Ibid.

4 It seems the date and location of this exhibition was not decided until the very last moment. Kent himself refers to opening dates of 15 and 19 November, at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. He later dates his press conference statement as 16 November. The New York Times also gives the opening date as 16 November. A few Soviet publications—USSR: 1, 52 (January 1961): 21, and Culture and Life: 1 (1961): 34-35 and No.2 (1961): 38-41—refer to the exhibition being on display at the USSR Academy of Arts in Moscow.

5 Topping, Seymour, "Moscow Gets Art of Rockwell Kent," The New York Times (16 November 1960); quoted from Kent's press conference statement.

6 Khrushchev, Nikita, quote cited in "Rockwell Kent Presents His Work To The Soviet People," USSR, No.1 (January 1961); 21.

7 Kent's 27 April 1960 letter to Dan Burne Jones mentions that this exhibition took place "in the course of one short year." The exhibition actually began at the Pushkin on or about 11 December 1957 and (I believe) ended at the State Museum of Fine Arts (a.k.a. Foreign Art Museum) in Riga, Latvia, on 30 November 1958. Kent had been told that the museum in Tbilisi was also interested in hosting the exhibition, but his letters do not confirm that this venue was actually scheduled. Kent's artwork arrived back in the United States in April 1959.

8 This film of the Kent exhibition on display at the Pushkin was put together by Vera and Yakov Tolchan, and a man named Popov.

9 "The Farm on which I Live"—"This Is My Own (Asgaard Farm)" might also be applicable—is a translation of a Russian title from the 1983 Pushkin exhibition, Rockwell Kent 1882-1971, for which I currently have no other reference. Titles with quotation marks signify either a descriptive title or a transitional title—with the exception of "Calm and Free" (Maine Coast), where the quotation marks are Kent's.

10 It is believed that Chegodaev's daughter, Tolchan's son, and Vereisky family members have now inherited works by Kent from their parents. The artist refers to "the little painting" that he had sent to Alushkina in a 9 November 1960 letter to the interpreter; further information on this painting is unknown at this time.

11 Kent, Rockwell, It's Me O Lord (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1955), pp. 535-538.

12 In a 2 June 1930 letter to Kathleen Dunning (an assistant to Kent who was compiling what was to become Rockwellkentiana, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1933), Robert W. Macbeth listed the thirteen paintings as follows;

Afternoon on the Sea (Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Berkshire Winter (Museums at Hartwick College)
Burial of a Young Man (The Phillips Collection)
Croquet (private collection)
Hypaticas (Indianapolis Museum of Art)
Monadnock, Trees Against Sky (The Art Museum, Princeton University)
Northwest Morning (possible title change; collection unknown)
Pollock Seining (Columbus Museum of Art)
Road Breaking (The Phillips Collection)
Snow Squalls (private collection)
Spring, Moving Day (possible title change; collection unknown)
Toiling on the Sea (New Britain Museum of American Art)
Winter; Berkshire Hills (Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University)
Rockwell Kent papers, Archives of American Art.

13 David A. Miller, Senior Conservator of Paintings at the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA), first brought the tacking margin inscription, Hypaticas, to my attention in 1985. Though uncredited, Mr. Miller's work is mentioned in Richard V. West's, "An Enkindled Eye": The Paintings of Rockwell Kent (exhibition catalog, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1985). I later informed Mr. Miller that this was the first title used by Kent for IMA's painting Winter Landscape, in the 1914, 27th Annual Exhibition of American Oil Paintings and Sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago (spelled "Hepaticas" in the catalog). I have since discovered several paintings with tacking margin titles, many of which were thought to be untitled.

14 The latest painting to bear a tacking margin title that I have as yet discovered is the 1914 Newfoundland composition, Pastoral (Columbus Museum of Art). The title, "Winter Nor'west," seems to bear little significance to this summer scene, which suggests that this canvas may have been inadvertantly titled; the underpaint that is exposed under ultraviolet light only supports the summer theme.

15 Kent, It's Me O Lord, p. 278.

16 James H. Frantz, a grandson of George S. Chappell, a conservator at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an instructor at the Conservation Center, informed me that he had inherited this painting and Berkshire Winter, and that he was responsible for giving the former to the Center and the latter to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

17 Three other Chappell grandchildren—George Chappell, Peter McCalmont, and Lucretia Marmon—repeat the "Chappell family legend" that many of the Kent artworks in their grandfather's possession were obtained as payment in lieu of debts accumulated by the artist. The Kent-Chappell letters at the Archives of American Art confirm this was so, and also that Chappell bought some artwork, and that he returned paintings that were admittedly in storage at his Connecticut home.

18 Of the pre-1914 paintings that I have inspected—including the seven early Monhegan and the lone Berkshire canvases in the Kent Collection—the tacking margins, where still extant, show signs of gross deterioration. This supports Kent's opinion that the extended period of storage of these paintings in Chappell's damp basement is responsible for the deterioration. In cases where there is no tacking margin and there are signs that Kent reworked or restored a canvas, it often appears that the artist restretched the canvas using part of the composition as a new tacking margin.

19 Kent to Jones, 8 October 1959, the Dan Burne Jones Papers.

20 Late Afternoon, Monhegan (34 x 44 inches) is the caption title Kent uses in Rockwellkentiana for the painting that is now owned by Jamie Wyeth. Late Afternoon (Monhegan) (28 x 44 inches) is the caption title Kent uses in It's Me O Lord for the painting Maine Fishing Village, Evening, now owned by the Pushkin. Maine Fishing Village, Sunset, now owned by Kiev, measures 34 x 44 inches. Wyeth's Late Afternoon is also referred to as Late Afternoon, Monhegan and Sunset on Monhegan Island.

21 In 1934 Kent's Greenland work toured the Milwaukee Art Institute (now the Milwaukee Art Museum), the Art Gallery of Toronto (now the Art Gallery of Ontario), the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, the Old White Art Gallery in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, and the William Macbeth Gallery in New York.
Home      About Scott R. Ferris      Essays      Missing Works      Contact
Scott R. Ferris
©2018 All Rights Reserved
Phone: 315-542-1643 / srf@scottrferris.com / rkentiana@yahoo.com
Web site developed by Meneilly Art Studio