I first learned of Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) in the mid-1970s when I was a student at the State University of New York, Plattsburgh. At that time Plattsburgh State hosted a relatively new art center on campus, The Rockwell Kent Gallery (Now part of the greater Plattsburgh State Art Museum). At the request of then newly appointed director, Edward R Brohel, I developed the initial catalogue and label information for this collection.
My work at the Kent Gallery led to my employment (1980-1982) with Kent’s third wife and widow, Sally, at The Rockwell Kent Legacies (located at the estate). Among the many activities that I performed there: I worked with Fridolf Johnson and the editors at Alfred A Knopf in researching and editing what was to become the book, Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of His Work; I was the liaison with the estate’s New York City gallery representative, Hammer Galleries, and was responsible for switching gallery representation from Hammer to Kennedy Galleries in 1982; I licensed the estate owned copyright and reproduction rights; and I developed object files for Kent’s paintings, and labeled innumerable sketches and drawings in the collection, most of which are now part of the collection at Plattsburgh State.
In the years since my tenure at The Rockwell Kent Legacies, I have authored essays for the books Rockwell Kent’s Forgotten Landscapes and The View from Asgaard: Rockwell Kent’s Adirondack Legacy, and the foreword, “In the Presence of Light,” for the Wesleyan University Press edition of Kent’s 1935 tome, Salamina; articles for Smithsonian magazine, American Art Review, FineArtConnoisseur, etc., as well as, independent reviews. I have lectured at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Adirondack Museum (now Adirondack Experience), New York University Baruch College, Terra Museum of Art, Farnsworth Art Museum, Portland Museum of Art, Anchorage Museum, Frye Art Museum, and Greenville County Museum of Art, among others. I have served as curator or consultant for numerous exhibitions on or including Rockwell Kent, and as a consultant for private collections. And, I have consulted for innumerable literary and biographical projects including the book, Maine in America: American Art at The Farnsworth Art Museum, and the film, Rockwell Kent: A Documentary by Frederick Lewis. My ongoing work focuses on the annotated checklist of Kent’s paintings and an archive of his oeuvre. (In a related project, I was editor of CRSA Forum: The Journal of the Catalogue Raisonné Scholars Association––from issue No. 9, Summer 2002 through No. 19, Winter 2006: catalogueraisonne.org).
In summation, I continue to provide research services and literary contributions for art galleries, auction houses, museums and private collectors, as well as for academicians. I look forward to hearing from you.
Selected Lectures, Interviews, Writings and Consulting (Also: See Essays)
- The Chicago Lawyer Arthur Jerome Eddy and his Eclectic Collection, by Vivian Barnett. Consultant. 2022.
- The Road to Glen Lough, by Christy Gillespie. Consultant. 2022.
- Following in the Footsteps of ROCKWELL KENT. Mountain Lake Journal, Mountain Lake PBS. Plattsburgh State Art Museum. Feb. 2022.
- One Hundredth Anniversary of Rockwell Kent’s Alaska Adventure. Anchorage Museum. Symposium lecturer. Nov. 2018.
- Ar Lorg Annie (In Search of ‘Annie McGinley’). Documentary. BBC Northern Ireland. Consultant. 2018.
- Blue Day (Greenland). Sotheby’s. Essay author. May 2017.
- Gray Day (Greenland). Sotheby’s. Essay author. Nov. 2016.
- In Review: Frozen Falls (Alaska)/Ice Curtains. Christie’s. Essay author. Nov. 2016
- Kent scholar Scott Ferris discusses famed Adirondack artist Rockwell Kent. Mountain Lake Journal, Mountain Lake Public Television. June 2013.
- Rockwell Kent: The Once Most Popular American Artist, Richard F. Brush Art Gallery and Owen D. Young Library, St. Lawrence University. Oct. 2012.
- Fertile Ground: Rockwell Kent on Monhegan Island, Farnsworth Art Museum, Rockland, ME. May, 2012.
- The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom: 1879-1960. Douglas Brinkley. HarperCollins Publishers, New York. 2011. Consultant.
- Kents or Not-Kents? The Role of Connoisseurship: Research and Analysis in the Attribution of the Monhegan Mystery Paintings, Panel discussion, Monhegan Museum (ME) symposium, July 2007.
- Reading Rockwell Kent: A Discussion on Kent in Michael Winter’s novel, ‘The Big Why,’ Queens University, Kingston, Ontario, Oct. 2006.
- Rockwell Kent in Moscow, Miami University, Oxford, OH, Oct. 2005.
- Seeing Double and Other Maladies of the CR [Catalogue Raisonné] Scholar, New York University, New York, NY, April 2005.
- Rockwell Kent: Monhegan Island, CBS Sunday Morning, May 2003.
- Generations: The Artistic Heritage of Rockwell Kent, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA, Sept. 2002. And, Generations: The Artistic Influence of an American Master, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Plattsburgh, NY, Jan., 2002.
- A Key to the Artwork of Rockwell Kent: ‘The Great Kent Collection and Beyond,’ Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, IL. April, 2001.
- Rockwell Kent: Politics and the Changing Art Market, Globus Seminar Series, Baruch College, New York, N.Y., Oct. 2000.
- The Spiritual and the Allegorical: Literary and Lifestyle Influences in the Artwork of Rockwell Kent, As part of Rockwell Kent Rediscovered, Symposium 2000, Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., Sept., 2000.
- A Greater Luminosity: The Paintings of Rockwell Kent, Cape Museum of Fine Arts, Dennis, MA. Sept., 1999.
- Rockwell Kent. North Country Public Radio. July 1999.
- A Greater Luminosity, Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., July 1999.
- Reconstructing Rockwell Kent Reconstructing Art, National Museum of American Art (Now, Smithsonian American Art Museum), Washington, D.C., Jan. 1999.
- Rockwell Kent’s Forgotten Landscapes: An Artist’s Gift to the Soviet Union, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME. Oct., 1998.
- Rockwell Kent’s Forgotten Landscapes, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Oct. 1998.
- Consultant, Rockwell Kent, (documentary film) by Frederick Lewis, 1991-2000.
- The Paintings of Rockwell Kent, lecture to accompany the exhibition, An Enkindled Eye, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y. May 1986.
- Rockwell Kent: His Adirondack Home, group tour of Kent’s farm for “I Love New York,” N.Y. State Department of Tourism, July, 1981.
Selected Exhibitions: Guest Curator, Consultant
- Rockwell Kent: The Once Most Popular American Artist, Brush Art Gallery and Owen Library, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY. 2012. Guest Curator.
- Generations: The Artistic Heritage of Rockwell Kent, Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA, 2002.
- Generations: The Artistic Influence of an American Master, Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Plattsburgh, NY, 2002. Guest Curator.
- The View from Asgaard: Rockwell Kent’s Adirondack Legacy, Adirondack Museum, Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y., 1999-2000. Guest Curator.
- Rockwell Kent on Monhegan, Monhegan Museum, Monhegan Island, ME. 1998. Consultant.
- The American Century, American Art and Culture, 1900-2000, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, N.Y., 1999. Consultant on Rockwell Kent.
- The Allure of The Maine Coast, Robert Henri and His Circle, 1903-1918, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME. 1995. Consultant on Rockwell Kent.
- ‘Unpainted to the Last,’ Moby-Dick and American Art, 1930-1990, Spencer Museum of Art, The University of Kansas at Lawrence, Aug. 19-Oct. 8, 1995, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Nov. 4-Dec. 24, 1995, Mary and Leigh Block Gallery, Northwestern University, Jan. 12-Mar. 3, 1996. Consultant on Rockwell Kent.
- Rockwell Kent: The Newfoundland Work, Dalhousie Art Gallery, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Feb. 5-Mar. 15, 1987, The Art Gallery, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Apr. 2-May 17, 1987, Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, June 26-Aug. 9, 1987, The McMichael Canadian Collection, Kleinburg, Ontario, Aug. 31-Oct. 11, 1987. Consultant.
- ‘An Enkindled Eye’: The Paintings of Rockwell Kent, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, CA., June 29-Sept. 1, 1985, Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, OH. Oct. 12-Nov. 13, 1985, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, ME., Jan. 21-Mar. 2, 1986, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, N.Y., Apr. 11-May 18, 1986. Consultant.
- Rockwell Kent, 1882-1971, A Centennial Celebration, The Rockwell Kent Gallery, State University of New York (SUNY)-Plattsburgh, 1982. Guest Curator.
- ‘A Distant Harmony’: Comparisons in the Painting of Canada and the United States of America, The Winnipeg Art Gallery, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Oct. 8-Nov. 28, 1982, Art Gallery of Hamilton, Hamilton, Ontario, Feb. 17-Mar. 27, 1983. Consultant (Rockwell Kent).
Auction Houses: Consultant
- Consultant on Rockwell Kent: Sotheby’s, Christie’s, Swann, Doyle, Guernsey’s, Skinner Galleries, Richard A. Bourne, Butterfield & Butterfield, Northeast Auctions, Barridoff Galleries, Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
Selected Administrative and Curatorial
- Director, The Rockwell Kent Legacies (Kent Estate), Au Sable Forks, N.Y., 1980-1982.
- Curatorial Assistant, The Rockwell Kent Gallery and Myers Fine Arts Gallery, SUNY-Plattsburgh; artists exhibited included: Philip Pearlstein, Dennis Oppenheim, Grace Hartigan, Alice Neel, Les Levine. 1978-1980.
- Exhibit Designer/Preparator, Katie Gingrass Gallery/D. Erlien Fine Art, Milwaukee, WI.; artists exhibited included: Harvey K. Littleton, Fritz Dreisback, Eric Hilton, Kate Vogel and John Littleton. 1984.
- Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Plains Art Museum/Rourke Gallery, Moorhead, MN.; artists/exhibitions included: Fritz Scholder, Patterns in Cycle: American Indian Art, Joan Miro, West African Art, Berenice Abbott, Ansel Adams, 1983-1984.
Selected Employment: General
- Antiques Dealer—18th and 19th century American militaria, scientific and medical instruments, and Americana—J & R Ferris Antiques, LLC, Boonville, N.Y. – jandrferrisantiques.com