Manipulated photograph of Abbott Thayer,
Thayer family, and Rockwell Kent (with halo),
Dublin, New Hampshire, 1903
In the summer of 1903,
Kent served as an apprentice to Abbott Thayer, an eccentric
artist who lived with his family in Dublin, New Hampshire.
Thayer’s compound consisted of a drafty, sparsely furnished
former summerhouse as well as several makeshift lean-tos
where family members slept, even in winter.
Despite their curious ways, Kent enjoyed the Thayer household,
calling it one of the richest cultural experiences of his
life. It was here that he drew nearer to nature and first read
the Icelandic sagas that inspired his northern sojourns.
Thayer quickly recognized Kent’s talent and encouraged him
to paint the countryside that surrounded his ramshackle
retreat. Bolstered by the sale of two paintings, Kent quit
Columbia and began full-time study at the New York School
During the winter of 1907–08, he met Abbott Thayer’s niece,
17-year-old Kathleen Whiting. Within weeks he had won
her heart and asked for her hand.
On December 31, 1908, Kent and Kathleen were wed. Years
later he wrote, “If in my boyish experience I could only have
known how little the judgment and promises of the innocent
are to be relied upon, what endless sorrows might have
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|Late Afternoon in New Hampshire Field, 1905|
oil on canvas
Museum Purchase, Sally Kent Gorton Endowment
oil on panel
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton