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Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection

The Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection was established in 1974 and dedicated in 1978 by Plattsburgh State University and the University Board of Trustees. Since then additional material has been gifted to the collection. The Kent Gallery became part of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum in 1989. Through its collection managers (the Art Museum and Feinberg Library, Special Collections), the college has developed conservation grants and continues the growth of the collection. Since its inception, it has been an educational tool for our students, docents and Kent enthusiasts.

In addition to the permanent display in the Kent Gallery, there have been special exhibitions including, Graphic Art of Rockwell Kent, 1982, A Definitive American Collection, 1987, and most recently, an exhibition curated by Wilford H. Ross, Commercialism and Idealism, Rockwell Kent, Bringing Art to Advertising, 1999. This exhibition formed a "troika" with the Adirondack Museum and the Norman Rockwell Museum, and concluded with a Symposium in September of 2000.

There have been many significant loans to other Museums including the Whitney, NYC, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, and Norman R. Rice Gallery, Albany, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Norman Rockwell Museum, MA, Adirondack Museum, New York, and the Anchorage Museum of History and Art, Alaska.

The Museum publishes a tri-annual periodical-The Kent Collector is edited by the Museum docents with Coordinator/Editor Marguerite Eisinger. This publication keeps the public familiar with Kent-current findings, exhibitions, lectures and publications.

The collection has been featured in several newspaper articles including the New York Times, Showcasing Art in the Adirondacks, (7/19/92), and Adirondack Vistas, In the Artist's Eye, and In the Visitor's,(7/23/99). It has also been featured in the Montreal Gazette, Press Republican, and the Burlington Free Press..

This past spring Kent was commemorated, along with 19 other American illustrators in conjunction with the Society of Illustrators 100th Anniversary. His United States postage stamp design depicts an illustration from Herman Melville's, Moby Dick.

In 2000, a final gift was given to the college by Shirley Johnstone Gorton (Sally Kent Gorton)-an extensive group of paintings, drawings, prints, books, papers and objects. It is very large and comprehensive and consists of works by Kent and his contemporaries. Of particular note are his drawings, design art, and advertising art. These holdings significantly expand the scope of Kent's work at Plattsburgh State. This gift marks the maturing of this resource as a cultural and educational element. It expands the collection and makes the Plattsburgh collection a prime resource of the artist's authority. It also is an indication of Sally's confidence in the college and its Museum.

On December 8, 2001, the Sally Kent Gorton Endowment was established by the College Foundation. The acceptance and structuring of this significant gift offers opportunities for future work and development, and will provide on going resources for the study and care of the collection.

This current exhibition, "Generations," will add to the energy and expand the information that the Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection can support in the future. Scott Ferris, an alumnus of Plattsburgh State, is devoting his energy and ability to the professional study of Kent and his works. This show is the result of his current research. It is special in itself, and because of the template it continues-we will work on many more projects like this.

The College invites the Kent family to share with us-our educational mission and our understanding of our debt to their predecessor.

Edward R. Brohel, Director
Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection


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