Posted by: jeannineatkins | July 31, 2012

Rockwell Kent’s “Egypt”: Shadow and Light in Vermont

Peter and I recently visited Bennington Museum for a show featuring work Rockwell Kent (1982- 1971) did while living on a farm he called Egypt, which the placards say drew upon Biblical references. Uh oh, I thought. I like a farm that’s just a farm. Rockwell Kent was a good printmaker, painter, and social activist, and according to the biography some kind of mystic, which can be another term for someone you might not want to be married to or have as a father, especially if you throw in his later explorations of Alaska, Newfoundland, and Greenland.

But back to the art Kent did while in Arlington, Vermont, a small town between Bennington and Manchester, from 1919 -1925. I don’t know whether or not this time was a happy period for Kent’s wife and five children, but we can view prints reminiscent of William Blake’s cherubs (which one of his children modeled for) and some gorgeous views of clouds and mountains.

Rockwell Kent may be best known for the wonderful woodblocks he produced for a 1930 version of Moby Dick, which were used for a Book of the Month Club edition. This job may have come his way because of his friendship with Arlington resident Dorothy Canfield Fisher, author of Understood Betsy, a book I loved as a child, and who was a Book Club judge for several decades. Here’s a photo displaying that novel and Fisher’s 1912 work, A Montessori Mother. And a bit of Moby Dick

I have a small quarry obsession, so I liked seeing this poster promoting a strike for better work conditions at the Vermont Marble Company, on the right in this picture Peter took,  At the top is the year of the strike and 1775, the year that Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys attacked Fort Ticonderoga, claiming the first victory of the Revolutionary War.

The show will stay up through October 30, a month when the beautiful mountains around the museum will be ablaze.

 


Responses

  1. I always love it when you begin: “Peter and I…” And I love the humor in this post, especially your wondering about mystics being good husbands and fathers. Reminded me of your Bronson Alcott in Becoming Louisa. Thank you for sharing yours and Peter’s visits and travels, Jeannine.

    • Thanks, Sarah. Yes, I would definitely put Bronson in that category. I guess we can only be glad he didn’t decide to explore that Arctic, too!


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