Lunar Disintegration

Rockwell Kent, American, 1882 - 1971



Lithograph on medium weight wove paper

Image: 12 1/16 × 10 1/16 in. (30.6 × 25.6 cm)

Sheet: 16 1/16 × 11 13/16 in. (40.8 × 30 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Mrs. Harvey P. Hood W'18 Fund


Portfolio / Series Title

End of the World


George C. Miller


Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed, in graphite, lower right below image: Rockwell Kent; inscribed, in graphite, lower right margin: GS K 746; inscribed, in graphite, on reverse, upper right margin: BJ115 Watermark, lower right corner: GCM


Commissioned by Life magazine to illustrate its article “Four Ways in Which the World May End,” Rockwell Kent transports us fifty billion years into the future. When the earth’s rotation slows and matches the orbital period of the moon—as contemporaneous scientific research proposed—the smaller body will be slowly pulled toward the earth until the two collide. Kent dramatizes this hypothesis here, tapping into anxieties around the rise of fascism and the growing threat of war in Europe by creating an apocalyptic vision in which cosmic forces overshadow humanity.

From the 2022 exhibition This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, curated by Jami C. Powell, Curator of Indigenous Art; Barbara J. MacAdam, former Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art; Thomas H. Price, former Curatorial Assistant; Morgan E. Freeman, former DAMLI Native American Art Fellow; and Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art

Course History

ANTH 7.05, Animals and Humans, Laura Ogden, Winter 2022

GEOG 31.01, Postcolonial Geographies, Erin Collins, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ANTH 50.05, Environmental Archaeology, Madeleine McLeester, Winter 2022

ARTH 5.01, Introduction to Contemporary Art, Mary Coffey and Chad Elias, Winter 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

ANTH 3.01, Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2022

SPAN 65.15, Wonderstruck: Archives and the Production of Knowledge in an Unequal World, Silvia Spitta and Barbara Goebel, Summer 2022

Exhibition History

This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–July 22, 2022.

Published References

Dennis, Geoffrey. The End of the World. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1930. “Hadyen Planetarium Shows Four Ways in Which the World May End: Rockwell Kent Portrays Them.” LIFE 3, no. 8 (November 1, 1937): 54–8. Johnson, Fridolf. Rockwell Kent: An Anthology of His Works. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982. Johnson, Fridolf, and John H. F. Gorton. The Illustrations of Rockwell Kent: 231 Examples from Books, Magazines and Advertising Art. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1976. Jones, Dan Burne. The Prints of Rockwell Kent: A Catalogue Raisonné, revised by Robert Rightmire. San Francisco: Alan Wofsy Fine Arts, 2002. McCurdy, Howard E. “The Cold War.” In Space and the American Imagination, Second Edition, 60–92, 333–340. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011. Traxel, David. An American Saga: The Life and Times of Rockwell Kent. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1980. Wien, Jake Milgram. Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and the Modern. Manchester and New York: Hudson Hills Press in association with The Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine, 2005. Wolff, Justin. “Rockwell Kent and the End of the World.” Lecture presented at the John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, October 22, 2016. Zigrosser, Carl. “Rockwell Kent.” In The Artist in America: Twenty-Four Close-Ups of Contemporary Printmakers, 45–54. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1942.


Steven Thomas, Inc., Woodstock, Vermont; sold to present collection, 2019.

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