Rockwell Kent, This is My Own - New York State Museum.
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Kent (seated, second from right) with family at daughterís wedding, Asgaard, c. 1937
Kent (seated, second from right) with family at
daughterís wedding, Asgaard, c. 1937

    In 1927 ROCKWELL and FRANCES made their escape from New York City. The large sums he earned from advertising, fine art, and illustration provided the means for a move upstate, to the Adirondack Mountains.

    Just outside the village of Au Sable Forks, Kent found a farm with more than 250 acres of pasture and pine forests, with vast blue vistas.
Asgaard Farm buildings
Asgaard Farm buildings
   Most of the structures on the property were beyond restoration. No stranger to starting anew, Kent had them razed. Within six weeks of purchase he had contractors building a brand-new barn with a huge hayloft. Inspired by his love for ancient Norse legend, Kent named his new home Asgaard, meaning ďhome of the gods.Ē
But Kentís Valhalla was plagued by poor soil. In order to make the pastures profitable again, he spent thousands of dollars on fertilizer. Too busy to be anything more than a gentleman farmer, he employed a succession of managers who handled his herd and tended to his fields, rarely turning a profit.

    A new house, modest but sturdily built, also rose quickly along with a studio tucked away in a grove of pine trees. The farm became a meeting place for Kentís friends, artists and intelligentsia who often gathered there on weekends. Among them were poet Louis Untermeyer, Hollywood screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart, and Academy Award-winning director Lewis Milestone, who was married to Frances Kentís sister.

    After fourteen years of marriage, Frances and Rockwell divorced. Sally Johnstone, hired as Kentís assistant, became his wife in 1940. Asgaard, the center of their life and work, would serve as their retreat and refuge for the rest of their lives.

Rockwell and Sally Kent at Asgaard, c.1945
Rockwell and Sally Kent at Asgaard, c.1945
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Thumbnail ImageAnd This My Child Is Where Your Mother Was Born, 1930 reworked 1950
oil on canvas
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.1.6]
Thumbnail ImageAbandoned Farm, c.1935
oil on canvas
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1980.1.131]
Thumbnail ImageDecember 8, 1941, 1941
oil on canvas
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.1.17]
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