nude striding figure holding a sheaf of wheat in front of body beneath PL arm, with a scythe in PR hand; sheaves of wheat at left, uncut wheat at right

%C2%A9 Plattsburgh State Art Museum%2C Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection

Harvester, 1921

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Anonymous giftexpand_more  2018.96.28

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Rockwell Kent was an unusual combination of Transcendentalist, Symbolist, Modernist, and Socialist. This drawing made while he lived in Vermont depicts a laborer harvesting wheat. The abundance of nature and simplicity of life speaks to his roots in the mystical writings of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. The anonymous, androgynous figure illuminated in a night landscape evokes his Symbolist bent. The simplified rhythmical lines are harbingers of Art Deco, and the theme of labor coupled with the gleaming sickle would be comfortable on a Soviet monument.

When Kent made this drawing, he was just gearing up his career as a printmaker. Indeed, the drawing is mounted on a card inscribed in pencil: Notice to engraver / Valuable drawing / Do not mark or soil. We know of no print derived from the drawing, but it did come into the possession of Mrs. Albert Sterner, whose husband, an artist, was among those encouraging Kent to engage with printmaking the early 1920s.

Details
Title
Harvester
Artist Life
1882 - 1971
Role
Artist
Accession Number
2018.96.28
Provenance
Mrs. Albert Sterner (New York) [probably Marie, the wife of Albert Edward Sterner (1863-1946), a painter and illustrator). John E. Andrus III (Wayzata, Minn.); Julie Andrus (Minneapolis, Minn.)
Curator Approved

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nude striding figure holding a sheaf of wheat in front of body beneath PL arm, with a scythe in PR hand; sheaves of wheat at left, uncut wheat at right

© Plattsburgh State Art Museum, Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection

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