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Rockwell Kent's Forgotten Landscapes [Hardcover]

Scott R. Ferris , Ellen Pearce


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The missing "great collection" of Rockwell Kent.
Notable American artist Rockwell Kent virtually disappeared from museum and gallery circuits in the late 1940s because of his political views. But his popularity is now rebounding, and this study of Kent's missing "great collection" is a welcome addition to the literature about a superb American artist. At the height of the Cold War, feeling that his work was not appreciated at home, Kent gave a remarkable gift of his work to the people of the Soviet Union as a gesture of friendship. Unfortunately, any friendship was a long time in coming, and the more than 700 paintings, drawings, prints, and manuscripts in his gift were lost to an American audience. These works were displayed in the Hermitage Museum, Kiev Museum, Gorki Museum, and in collections in Ukraine and Armenia. Kent's settings ranged from Greenland to Tierra del Fuego. Many depict Maine, the Adirondacks, and the Berkshires–typical of the bleakly beautiful landscapes to which Kent was drawn. This text focuses on how the artist came to make such an extraordinary gift and follows the intriguing paths these works followed once they left the United States.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! Simply outstanding! 3 Jan 2000
By Allen A. Long - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Rockwell Kent's Forgotten Landscapes" presents 47 full-color, full-page paintings which he gave to Russia in 1960, and which have not been seen in the U.S. since. This treasure trove of his "forgotten" paintings was reproduced by Scott R. Ferris and Ellen Pearce in a 96-page coffee-table format.
By their direct simplicity, these paintings may startle viewers, especially those who revel in the nuances of paintings by impressionists, for Kent's pictures have sharp lines, bright colors, and deep shadows, and show the use of artistic license here and there. Edward Hopper's "houses" are done in a somewhat similar style. Kent's painting locales included the Adirondacks (his home), Greenland, Maine (Monhegan), Tierra del Fuego, Alaska and Ireland.
After studying the collection this reviewer emerged convinced that he has a better grasp of North Greenland, where the sun wheels around 360 degrees while hanging just above the horizon during summer months and casting a sort of perpetual evening light and long shadows. Kent's paintings often show no human or animal life, but there is enough inclusion of Indian activities as to cause cultural anthropologists to consider his paintings to be rare records of this primitive, by-gone lifestyle. Kent's portrait of Mount Assiniboine in the Canadian Rockies was so startling in color and composition as to make this reviewer actually gasp in wonder at its beauty.
In addition to the big color plates, the authors have included 36 smaller black & white pictures which amplify 15 pages of scholarly text by Ferris, in which he discusses the genealogies of selected pictures and their believed locations abroad. The text is backed by 95 footnotes, many of which are interesting in their own right.
Appendix I lists "variant titles to some of Kent's basic scenes." Appendix II organizes his "non-paintings" into engravings, lithographs, books and brochures, manuscripts and reproductions and portfolios -- all wonderful guides to other Kent works. Then there follow a Bibliography and Index.
Ellen Pearce's major contribution is a seven-page essay on the life and political entanglements of Rockwell Kent, which climaxed in his being summoned before Sen. Joseph McCarthy's Committee on Government Operations. Further, the State Department refused to renew his travel visa until the Supreme Court overturned its ruling. All this disheartened and embittered Kent and predisposed him to bequeath his "great collection" to the Russians, who had received an earlier show of his with warmth and enthusiasm.
For those who heretofore have known Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) only by his book and magazine illustrations, this is a grand introduction to his work in oils. One hopes another book someday will publish his collected works so that Americans can even better appreciate a great native-born but forgotten artist.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome Book , Kent as great Nature Painter 19 Mar 2000
By Ward J. Lamb - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The great artist and explorer, Rockwell Kent ,is represented well in the plates of this "lost Landscape" edition. The plates are great color, and the text fills you in on the complexity of his socialist political life. Kent is a superior mannerist as was his contemporary Grant Wood. It is heartening to see these works from the Soviet Union in such an inexpensive and reputable package. The book is true to the beauty and substance of this sometimes underappreciated legend! I was lucky enough to see some of the great Adirondack paintings at the Blue Mtn. museum last summer, which made me ravenous to get this book. I am thrilled! Buy it if you have an affinity for the works of Kent!
5.0 out of 5 stars Book is so interesting and seller is super. 9 April 2014
By Alice - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book arrived quickly, so well wrapped, and in exactly the condition described! I love it. Saw this artist at a show and learned so much from the book about his journey.
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