Kent, Rockwell
American, 1882 - 1971

Biography

Rockwell Kent was born in Tarrytown Heights, New York. He initially studied architecture at Columbia University (1906-1910) but soon switched to art, becoming the pupil of such noted teachers as William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller. By the 1920s, Kent had developed his style of bold patterns with dramatic contrasts of black and white.

One of the most widely known American graphic artists and illustrators of the twentieth century, Kent established his reputation in the 1920s and 1930s. The stark contrasts and dramatic mood of prints such as Foreboding (1926) and Almost (1929) distinguish his work.

Kent was born in Tarrytown, New York, in 1882. He initially studied architecture at Columbia University (1906-1910) but soon switched to art, becoming the pupil of such noted teachers as William Merritt Chase, Robert Henri, and Kenneth Hayes Miller. By the 1920s, Kent had developed his style of bold, stylized patterns with dramatic contrasts of black and white. His prints and illustrations brought him wide popularity.

Kent loved adventure and travel. He spent one winter with his young son on a remote Alaskan Island, and he described his trips to Greenland, Alaska, and the Straits of Magellan in a number of books that he illustrated. His autobiography, It's Me, O Lord, was published in 1955.

Politics also interested Kent and he participated in the anti-fascist American Artists' Congress. Kent received the Lenin Peace Prize in Moscow in 1967, and was criticized in America for his sympathies with left-leaning radical causes.

[This is an excerpt from the interactive companion program to the videodisc American Art from the National Gallery of Art. Produced by the Department of Education Resources, this teaching resource is one of the Gallery's free-loan educational programs.]

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