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

1 As I discuss in my book, Rockwell Kent's Forgotten Landscapes (Camden, ME: Down East Books, 1998), Kent, and various owners, have been responsible for changing the titles of the artist's paintings so much so that it is often difficult to ascertain the history of a given work; unfortunately this is the fate of most of the paintings in this exhibition. It is my endeavor to correct this matter here by incorporating titles known to be used by Kent in this essay and footnote later titles. Late Afternoon—a.k.a. Late Afternoon, MonheganAfternoon Sun; Afternoon Sunset on Monhegan Island, et al.—suffers the added dilemma of sharing its title with a similar work, Late Afternoon (Monhegan) (Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts)—a.k.a. Maine Fishing Village: Evening; Fishing Village Evening; et al. The shared titles are especially confusing when only the title appears, as in the catalogs to the 1907 exhibitions at the Clausen Galleries and the Gallery of the New York School of Art. A break in clarification comes when the Late Afternoon of this exhibition is listed as Afternoon Sun in the 1921 Junior Art Patrons of America First Retrospective Exhibition of American Art, as Late Afternoon in the 1924 Kent retrospective at Wildenstein Galleries, and as "'Late Afternoon,' Monhegan" in Rockwellkentiana (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1933)—all three of these later listings are accompanied by an attribution of ownership to Theodore B. Wagner. One other clarification needs to be made in that Kent's Rockewellkentiana caption for this painting includes both the title—enclosed in quotation marks—and location—divided from the title by a comma—of this composition. Kent uses this title and place manner of captioning a painting again in It's Me O Lord (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1955, facing p.26) for the Pushkin Museum's Late Afternoon. Yet when he refers to this painting in his text (p.538) he simply refers to it by title.

2 Kent, Rockwell. Manuscript, March 1906.

3 Also known as Fisherman's Beach, Monhegan.

4 ____. It's Me O Lord. (New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1955), p. 122.

5 Cournos, John. "Rockwell Kent's Democratic Ideas on Life and Art." (Philadelphia Record. Sunday, 23 October 1910).

6 A painting, simply entitled Monhegan Island, is said to have been given by the artist to his sole brother, Douglas and his wife, on the occasion of their marriage. Though the vantage point of this composition is virtually the same as two of Kent's later paintings Maine Headland, Winter (The Hermitage Museum) and Maine Coast (Cleveland Museum of Art), the artist's selection and application of pigment resembles his work under the tutelage of Abbott Thayer.

7 Henri, Robert. "Individuality and Freedom in Art." (The Craftsman, 1909) cited in The Art Spirit (Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Co.), p. 134.

8 Kent. Manuscript "Introduction," 8 September 1906.

9 ____, Manuscript, 9 January 1906.

10 Wilmerding, John, et al. American Light: the Luminist Movement, 1850-1875  (Washington, DC: National Gallery of Art, 1980).

11 Kent includes the description in parentheses as part of this title.

12 In a letter to Dan Burne Jones (25 July 1906) Kent titles this work, "Calm and Free" (Maine Coast): leaving in the quotation marks because this painting is "titled from a line in a Wordsworth sonnet 'Calm and Free' ."

13 Also titled Pioneers, this painting, like To God! (a.k.a. To the Universe!), likewise speaks to the artist's spirituality as it depicts him standing in reverence to a spiritual light.

14 Eggum, Arne. "Major Paintings," Edvard Munch: Symbols & Images (Washington, D.C: National Gallery of Art, 1987), p. 40.

15 Kent. It's Me O Lord. p. 95.

16 Lemon, Courtney. "Independents in New York..." (Tearsheet unclear—title fragmented, date and publication unknown: a review of the 1910 Independents exhibition).

17 Conversation with Jamie Wyeth, 27 January 1998. The original titles for this painting, as well as Monhegan Headlands, is not yet confirmed. It is known that Harbor, Monhegan was also titled Seascape.

18 Untitled when given to the Conservation Center they have since applied this descriptive title, hence the quotation marks.

19 Henri. The Art Spirit, pp. 62-65.

20 Huneker. 2 April 1907, as cited in It's Me O Lord, 147-148.

21 Rocks, Monhegan may be a later title. The original, which is yet to be confirmed, may have been Sea and Rocks. Sea and Rocks was owned by C.B. Eddy and exhibited in the 1924 Wildenstein exhibition.

22 Kent. It's Me O Lord, p.118.

23 Rewald, John. The History of Impressionism. (New York: The Museum of Modern Art), p.563.

24 Monet, as cited in Rewald, p. 562.

25 This painting is illustrated in Kent's Rockwellkentiana. The painting was destroyed in a fire that consumed the home of George and Amelia Earhart Putnam.

26 This is also referred to as Monhegan Coast in Winter (Gull Rock). The original title of this work has not been confirmed.

27 Kent to Wyeth. 3 March 1970, cited in Johnson, Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of His Work (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), p. 239.

28 Kent to E.H. Chapman. 6 January 1952, Kent Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

29 Blackhead is illustrated facing page 517 and Whitehead, facing page 516, in It's Me O Lord.

30 This painting is also referred to as Whitehead in Wyeth's notes. Monhegan Headland apparently is the title Kent gave Richard West when they collaborated on the 1969 Bowdoin College Museum of Art exhibition, Rockwell Kent: The Early Years.

31 Also known as Village at Night; Sunset, Monhegan; and Monhegan, this painting was purchased from Kent by his friend and fellow American-Soviet Friendship Society member, Mendel Terman.

32 Henri. The Art Spirit, p.63.

33 Conversation with Wyeth, 27 January 1998.

© Essay copyrighted. 1998, by Scott Ferris.
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