Rockwell Kent, This is My Own - New York State Museum.
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Kent at book signing party for Random House trade edition of Moby Dick, 1930
Kent at book signing party for Random House
trade edition of Moby Dick, 1930

    In addition to his own profusely illustrated accounts of his adventures in Alaska, Tierra del Fuego, and Greenland, Kent took on the titans of literature, enhancing their timeless tales with his own enduring images, seemingly creating a new style for each classic volume he turned his hand to.

    Kent’s output was prodigious during this period. A young studio assistant noted in her journal: “Mr. Kent is a bit of a Prussian when it comes to making people work. He never gets tired. His energy wears everyone out.”

    A project befitting Kent’s unlimited energy came from R.R. Donnelly & Sons Company, a major printing firm in Chicago. Asked to illustrate William Henry Dana’s Two Years Before The Mast, Kent countered with his proposal to illustrate another tale of the sea: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.

    When Kent submitted samples to Donnelly & Sons, they replied:

    “These drawings exceed our highest expectations. As works of art reflecting the spirit of Melville’s book, they could not be finer.”

Cover for Random House trade edition of Moby Dick, 1930
Cover for Random House trade edition of Moby Dick, 1930
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Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Preliminary Drawing Whale Decending, 1928
pencil on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.126]
Thumbnail ImageMody Dick: Thumb Sketches, 1928
pencil on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.125]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Book Jacket Proof, c.1930
color print
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.10.8]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, Title Page, 1930
copper engraving
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.1]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 246, & page 1, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.5]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 11, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.15]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 81, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.42]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 259, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.123]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 273, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.127]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume I, page 287, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.94]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, Title Page, 1930
copper engraving
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.3]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, page 37, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.146]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, page 55, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.154]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, page 120, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.172]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, page 151, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.187]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume II, page 221, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.216]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume III, Title Page, 1930
copper engraving
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.4]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume III, page 27, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.245]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume III, page 98, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.266]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume III, page 245, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.336]
Thumbnail ImageMoby Dick: Volume III, page 271, 1930
linecut on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.4.343]
Thumbnail ImageCanterbury Tales: Nun's Priest's Tale, 1930
ink on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.11]
Thumbnail ImageBeowulf: Beowulf and the Dragon, 1931
lithograph
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.9.39]
Thumbnail ImageSalamina: Book Jacket Press Proof, 1935
color print
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.10.7]
Thumbnail ImageNorthern Christmas: Frontispiece, 1941
ink on paper
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.80]
Thumbnail ImageTo Thee! Rahr Malting Co.: Unpublished Drawing, 1947
ink on paper
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.3.103]
Thumbnail ImageIt's Me O Lord: Title Page, 1959
ink on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.72]
Thumbnail ImageGreenland Journal: Jacket Design, 1962
watercolor & gouache on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.50.2]
Thumbnail ImageHans Christian Anderson Fairytales: The Six Swans I, n.d.
black and sepia ink on paper mounted on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.14.3]
Thumbnail ImageHans Christian Anderson Fairytales: The Six Swans II, n.d.
black and sepia ink on paper mounted on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.14.2]
Thumbnail ImageHans Christian Anderson Fairytales:The Little Mermaid, n.d.
black and sepia ink on paper mounted on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.14.1]
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