Early November: North Greenland – Rockwell Kent 1933
Just got back from a breathtakingly beautiful vacation up in Boothbay Harbor, Maine. One of the suprise highlights was a quick stop in at the beautiful Portland Museum of Art, where I was delighted to find a huge Rockwell Kent exhibit. I don’t know if it was all the salt in the water that I swam in or too many lobster rolls, but this show just floored me.
The first images that come to my mind when I hear Kent’s name are the amazing black and white ink drawings of Moby Dick. I had always kept him firmly in the camp of the great American pen and ink illustrators of the early 20th century. This show completely enlarged my view of his work, and of his amazing life. This fellow was a grade-A swashbuckler, travelling to the world’s most spectacularly desolate and awe-inspiring places, and surviving any shipwrecks that nature threw his way (at least one that I am aware of).
His glowing landscpaes of Monhegan Maine, Tierra del Fuego, Greenland and Alaska are meant to remove the viewer’s self-consciousness, and just revel in the marvel of the scene. He was quite a modernist as well, producing playfully cartoonish shapes, yet preserving their deep cobalt blue glow and blindingly bright snowfields.
I’m looking forward to reading his wild tales of adventure as he sails to Tierra del Fuego in his book Voyaging. If you happen to be up in the area near Portland, ME be sure to check this show out. It runs until October 16th.
Amazon: Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and the Modern
Link: Portland Museum of Art