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Lot #427
Rockwell Kent

“The brutal character of fascism”

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“The brutal character of fascism”

American artist and illustrator (1882–1971) known for his crisp modernist style. Six TLS signed “Rockwell,” on Kent’s personal letterhead, 1950–1951. Kent writes to Ned [Travis] on various personal and political matters. Some excerpts: “The more meetings that can be arranged for me the better. I note that on the 28th, I have an IWO and Spanish Refugee Committee meeting; on the 29th, a cocktail party; the 30th, a barbecue and art auction…. It is good to reflect on having done, or having tried to do, good work during our stay in California…. If in this whole country of a hundred and sixty million there are others, circumstanced as you are, as sacrificing and courageous for their principles, we don’t know them…. In our thoughts we have largely built our Christmas party around you. So don’t disappoint us…. Charlotte’s remark to you as of February, 1951, compares interestingly with a line from her letter to us of November, 1949, which reads: ‘And you gave us both a new enthusiasm and courage as well as understanding for the conflicts facing all of us.’ I wrote to Charlotte … telling her that you had said that she had undertaken the obligation of paying for the picture. I have had no reply from her…. The arrest and the further indignities, including hand-cuffs, practised on the gentle, 83-year-old Dr. DuBois are in keeping with the brutal character of fascism. They have certainly come out in the open in their prosecution of advocates of peace…. This is only a note to tell you how glad we are at having heard from you and at learning that your trip East is not going to coincide with our absence in Maine….” In addition to his artistic pursuits, Kent 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. Intersecting mailing folds (vertical fold lightly touching a few signatures), otherwise fine condition. R&R COA.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title:
  • Dates: #331 - Ended March 12, 2008