A New England Landscape (Oak Tree and Evergreen)
Rockwell Kent, American, 1882 - 1971
Oil on canvas
Overall: 28 × 30 1/4 in. (71.1 × 76.8 cm)
Frame: 38 1/2 × 40 1/2 in. (97.8 × 102.9 cm)
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through gifts from the Lathrop Fellows
© Rights courtesy of Plattsburgh State Art Museum. State University of New York, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection, Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton. All rights reserved.
Place Made: United States, North America
Not on view
Signed and dated lower right: Rockwell Kent 1903.; inscribed, in chalk, on frame reverse: CAMERON 7116-232 [possibly a shipping or sale reference number]; Printed framer's label on frame reverse: H. S. JONES / Artistic Picture Frames / 40-42 WEST 22d ST. / Bet. Fifth and Sixth Aves. / NEW YORK. / RE-GILDING OF EVERY DESCRIPTION
A celebrated painter, printmaker, and illustrator, Rockwell Kent is known especially for work inspired by extended stays in northern regions of the world. When the young Kent painted A New England Landscape in 1903, he was living and working in Dublin, New Hampshire, with his artistic mentor Abbott Thayer. Thayer’s almost mystical appreciation for nature and his finely honed powers of observation deeply affected Kent. This painting reflects that influence but also points to characteristics associated with Kent’s mature style, including a strong sense of graphic design and a fascination with the transforming effects of light. Kent later observed in his art a ceaseless quest “to arrest [light’s] transient moods, to hold them, capture them. And to that end, and that alone, I painted.” The square format of this work and its artfully arranged pictorial elements suggest that he shared at this early date an affinity with the then-popular Arts and Crafts aesthetic.
From the 2019 exhibition American Art, Colonial to Modern, curated by Barbara J. MacAdam, Jonathan L. Cohen Curator of American Art|
Many 19th-century artists saw the natural world as a retreat, considering it a source of spiritual renewal. Rockwell Kent, a prolific painter, writer, illustrator, and adventurer, continued this philosophy in the 20th century, evoking the experience of being in nature with works like this depiction of an enormous white pine. Inspired by remote landscapes, Kent expressed that the “still, deep cup of the wilderness is potent with wisdom. Only to have tasted it is to have moved a lifetime toward a finer youth.”
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|
"The shadowy foreground of Rockwell Kent’s New England Landscape recedes at the right and opens to a broad sloping field. At first glance, the landscape is quiet and appears motionless until we notice the clouds swirling in the sky at the upper right. As they part, a strike of sunshine illuminates a portion of the landscape below. Kent painted this work when he was just 21 years old, but later in life he stated that he wanted his work to arrest lights transient moods, to hold them and to capture them. The longer we look at this work, the more we begin to see this dynamic interplay between light and shadow. Even in the brown field, black shadows appear behind blades of grass and beneath the tree. Instead of portraying this landscape with lifelike accuracy, Kent adopted a more painterly approach to convey his personal observation of lighting and its changing effects. Where else do you see Kent’s interest in light in this New England Landscape?" --Michael Hartman, Jonathan Little Cohen Associate Curator of American Art
Audio file transcription 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
American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Museum of Art, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 9-December 9, 2007.
American Art, Colonial to Modern, Israel Sack Gallery and Rush Family Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 26, 2019-September 12, 2021.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, June 5, 2001-May 1, 2005.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, March 2, 2009-present.
Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 14, 2005-May 8, 2007.
Possibly exhibited at the Society of Independent Artists (under another title), 1911.
Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and the Modern, Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine, June 23-October 16, 2005.
This Land: American Engagement with the Natural World, Israel Sack Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 5–July 22, 2022.
PaulTuller, Producer, [Video] The Dublin Art Colony: Collection at the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery, Dublin, New Hampshire: Barn Door Video Productions, September 2002.
Jake Milgram Wien, Rockwell Kent: The Mythic and the Modern, Manchester, Vermont: Hudson Hills Press, 2005, pp. 9, 175, ill. p. 10.
Barbara J. MacAdam, American Art at Dartmouth: Highlights from the Hood Muesum of Art, Hanover: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 2007, p. 72, no. 50.
Barbara J. MacAdam, Building on Dartmouth's Historic American Collections: Hood Museum of Art Acquisitions since 1985, The Magazine Antiques, November 2007, New York: Brant Publications, color ill. p. 144.
John R. Stomberg, The Hood Now: Art and Inquiry at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2019, p. 137, ill. plate no. 68.
Sara Holgate Kent (artist's mother); by gift to a private collection, Christmas Cove, Maine; sold April 4, 1981at Barridoff Galleries, Portland, Maine, lot 42 (as Spring Landscape); Frederic Gardner, Boston; 2000 purchased from Lewis A. Shepard, Works of Art, Inc., Worcester, Massachusetts.
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