Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rockwell Kent, Jamie Wyeth, and Monhegan

The Farnsworth Art Museum ( in Rockland, Maine, held a major exhibition in the museum’s Wyeth Center, entitled Jamie Wyeth, Rockwell Kent and Monhegan. The show ran from May to December, 2012.

Jamie Wyeth’s connection to Monhegan dates to the late 1950s, when he first went there with his father, and he has continued to paint there ever since. His connection to fellow artist Rockwell Kent goes back nearly as far. Early in his career Wyeth bought several pen and ink drawings by Kent used as the sources for his illustrations to Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, one of Kent’s most renowned book illustration projects. Subsequently, Wyeth acquired what was Kent’s last home and studio on Monehgan, and then bought several of Kent’s paintings from his first period on the island around 1907. This exhibition focused on works by the two artists done on Monhegan, and how the scenic island has inspired their work.

A small island off the coast of Maine, Monhegan has long lured artists to its remote shores, promising dramatic ocean vistas, rugged landscapes, and inspiring scenes of men struggling against the forces of nature. This exhibition examines the fascination that the island of Monhegan and its people held for both Rockwell Kent (1882-1971) and Jamie Wyeth (b. 1946). Although the two artists never met, their paintings, when viewed together, depict a century’s worth of Monhegan life and landmarks from vantage points most other artist never beheld. The exhibition will include examples of some of Wyeth’s most recent paintings and a number of works from his personal collection of Kent’s coastal views of the Monhegan headlands. Wyeth’s paintings, on the other hand, are often created with his “back to the sea,” as he describes it, focusing on the people who inhabit the island.

The Brandywine River Museum, June 15 through November 17, 2013 is expanding upon the original exhibition, including more than a dozen additional works and the debut of a new painting by Wyeth. Brandywine River Museum, U.S. Route 1, P.O. Box 141
Chadds Ford, PA 19317 • Phone: 610-388-2700

Jamie Wyeth, Jenny Whibley Sings, 2008; oil on board, 25 1/2 x 35 1/2 in.; ©Jamie Wyeth; collection of Jamie and Phyllis Wyeth

"Battleship", by Jamie Wyeth, depicts a new warship built at Bath Iron Workscruising past Monhegan on a trial run, a fairly common sight for islanders.

"Late Afternoon, Monhegan Island" by Rockwell Kent

Rockwell Kent (1882-1971),
Cranberrying, Monhegan , c. 1907. Oil on canvas. Terra Foundation for American Art, Gift of Mr. Dan Burne Jones, C1983.4 © Courtesy Plattsburgh State Art Museum, State University of New York, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection, Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton. All rights reserved.