Painter, author, illustrator, adventurer, social activist, ROCKWELL KENT (1882-1971) was one of America’s most influential and important artists reaching his greatest popularity during the 1930’s and 1940’s. His creative versatility was legendary. Best known as the definitive illustrator of such literary classics as Moby Dick, Candide and The Canterbury Tales, Rockwell Kent’s iconic images became permanent fixtures of the human imagination. An incurable wanderer, he traveled to extreme cold, harsh environments such as Alaska, Tierra del Fuego and Greenland to paint and record his mythical visions. Making three lengthy trips in the early 1930’s to an island off the northwest coast of Greenland, he painted some of his most profound and striking images, and produced three well-received books about his experiences during these arduous trips.
Accompanying a camera crew filming his biography for public television, Robert H. Jackson, lawyer, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Kelvin Smith Library at Case Western Reserve University, adventurer, writer, lecturer, and collector, traveled to this remote, harsh area in August, 2003, in an attempt to understand Kent’s need requiring this atmosphere to thrive to create. A decade earlier, Jackson also traveled to the tip of Argentina (Tierra del Fuego) to experience and record his perspective and for his own interior quest.