Rockwell Kent, This is My Own - New York State Museum.
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Rockwell Kent with unidentified woman, c.1920’s.
Rockwell Kent with unidentified woman, c.1920’s.

    While in Newfoundland, Kent had provided illustrations for the light verse of George Chappell, his boss at the architectural firm of Ewing & Chappell. Unhappily returned to the drafting room, Kent started making the rounds of editorial offices with his portfolio, having some small success selling whimsical drawings to Vanity Fair, Puck, and other humor magazines.
    Of these fanciful efforts Kent wrote:
“Oh, god, that a man at 35, with all the wisdom and brains that I have, be making these fool things.”

“All my time is spent looking for work or doing things that I hope to sell.”

    But Kent continued to chronicle the follies and foibles of the upper crust, hiding behind the pseudonym Hogarth Jr., in honor of William Hogarth, a painter, social satirist, and editorial cartoonist of eighteenthcentury England. In later years, as his own celebrity grew, Kent became a full-fledged member of the circles he satirized.

    Casting about for other ways to support his family, Kent taught himself the almost forgotten art of reverse painting on glass, often incorporating his designs into “Hogarth mirrors.”

    His muse and model for many of these creations was his latest paramour. Hildegarde Hirsch was a German-born, golden-haired, blue-eyed showgirl, a dancer with the Ziegfeld Follies. (Of this latest transgression, Kent wrote to his wife that an artist “needed to experience all of life.”)

    But few of these decorative pieces were purchased.
“Nothing important, financially, has developed yet. Will it ever? I am seriously considering not painting any more or drawing for a long time—but getting a job somewhere at some other work.”
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Thumbnail ImageArchitec-tonics: The Seats of the Mighty, 1914
ink on paper mounted on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.5.10]
Thumbnail ImageArchitec-tonics: Speculative Builder, 1914
ink on paper mounted on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.5.8]
Thumbnail ImageMaid and Bird, c.1918
ink on board with watercolor wash
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.30]
Thumbnail ImageAngel Mirror, c.1920
reverse painting on glass
Museum Purchase, Sally Kent Gorton Endowment
[P62008.3]
Thumbnail ImageThe Surprise Party, c.1920's
pen and ink
Museum Purchase, Sally Kent Gorton Endowment
[P112007.2]
Thumbnail ImageNY Tribune: A Short College Course, 1922
pen and ink
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.139]
Thumbnail ImageCome Lasses & Lads, c.1922
ink on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.102]
Thumbnail ImageVanity Fair Cover, 1923
color offset lithograph
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.141]
Thumbnail ImageAsgaard Landscape Mirror, c.1935
reverse painting on glass
Museum Purchase, Sally Kent Gorton Endowment
[P62008.2]
Thumbnail ImageJunius: Life Horoscope for June, 1924
ink on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.3.2]
Thumbnail ImageAugustus: Life Horoscope for August, 1924
ink on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.3.4]
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