“I DON’T LIKE TO ... PUT A MAN’S GIFTS THROUGH THE POLITICAL WRINGER”: BENTON defends fellow artist Rockwell Kent
Renowned American artist (1889–1975) whose distinctive “regionalist” style made him one of the most influential figures in American art during the 1930s and 1940s. His large-scale murals, often peopled by lanky, exaggerated human figures, became classic visual emblems of both idyllic rural culture and bustling urbanism in Depression-era America. ALS, one page, 7 x 10.5, personal letterhead, January 17, 1963. Benton writes to H. K. Thompson, Jr. in New York City. In full: “We all know Rockwell Kent as a good painter, maybe a great one, and you can be sure I have complete respect for his abilities. As to his new book there is, out here, no vehicle in which I could review it. I could make comments on the book but if it is politically slanted this might not be easy. I don’t like to be in a position where I might put a man’s gifts through a political wringer. I have experienced enough of that myself….” In addition to his artistic pursuits, Kent (1882–1971) was an eminent American artist best known for his works in a crisp modernist style. In addition to his artistic activities, he was a political activist who took up a number of left-wing causes. His views were subjected to close scrutiny during the McCarthy Era; he was called before the infamous House Un-American Activities Committee, and he was denied a passport by the State Department in a decision ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court. In fine condition. R&R COA.
#333 - Ended May 14, 2008
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