Urban Realism and the American Scene
Rockwell Kent (1882–1971)
Cranberrying, Monhegan, c. 1907
The multitalented Rockwell Kent was a skilled painter, printmaker, illustrator, photographer, and filmmaker as well as an intrepid traveler, writer, and political activist. A contentious idealist who rejected modernism’s focus on the artist’s inner life, he favored a style he described as “romantic realism” to make his work accessible to a wide audience. In Cranberrying, Monhegan, tiny figures are scattered across a cranberry bog below a grassy ridge and a veil of thick blue-gray clouds. The artist’s application of paint in broad, sweeping strokes complements the boundless horizontal landscape, in which the harvesters appear vulnerable to this island’s mutable weather. In his paintings of Monhegan, a popular summertime destination in Maine where he lived and worked from 1905 to 1910, Kent depicted an isolated locale whose inhabitants come face-to-face with elemental nature.
Learn more about this painting on the Terra Foundation website.