Rockwell Kent
(1882–1971)

One of America's finest painters, Rockwell Kent pursued a life of art and culture. Also an illustrator, designer, and printmaker, he was equally well known for his intellectual writings, far-reaching travel, support of artists' issues, and political activism. To Kent, painting was a highly philosophical exercise for individual expression. His clear, simplified landscapes of the mid-twentieth century stand as a figural counterpoint to abstractionism.

Kent was born in Tarrytown, New York to a prosperous upper-class family. However, when his father died suddenly in 1887, Kent's mother was left to raise three young children on her own. Kent was encouraged to draw from a young age by his aunt, Josie Banker, a ceramic decorator. She took her young nephew abroad on a tour of Europe when he was only thirteen, perhaps instilling at a young age his life-long love of travel. Kent entered the Summer School of Art at Shinnecock in 1900 under the tutelage of William Merritt Chase. With Chase's encouragement, Kent eventually decided to pursue art as a career and he enrolled in the New York School of Art, where he continued his training under Robert Henri and Abbott Thayer. As a mature artist, Kent loved the outdoors and sought to interpret nature through landscape painting. He traveled extensively to paint, spending time in Monhegan Island, Maine and Europe, and visiting remote locales in Alaska, Newfoundland, Greenland, and Tierra del Fuego.

Kent’s work is represented in the country’s leading museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Minneapolis Museum of Art, and Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.