Rockwell Kent, This is My Own - New York State Museum.
PSU Home > Museum Home > Rockwell Kent > This is My Own > Newfoundland
Back Previous SectionNewfoundlandNext Section Next
Kent’s “House of Dread,” Brigus, Newfoundland, 1914–15
Kent’s “House of Dread,” Brigus, Newfoundland, 1914–15

    By 1912, Kent was living in Greenwich Village, which was emerging as a bohemian haven. Now the father of three children, he was doing architectural rendering for the firm of Ewing & Chappell. Miserable, he leaped at the opportunity to serve as superintendent on a construction site in Winona, Minnesota, an affluent mill town on the Mississippi.
    After what Kent called his “full-packed Minnesota year,” he returned to New York City.
    Increasingly, Kent’s thoughts returned to the bleak, barren coast of Newfoundland, which he had first visited in 1910. After securing financial support, primarily from his mother who had inherited wealth from her Aunt Josie, Kent boarded a steamer for St. John’s.
His search for solitude brought him to the village of Brigus, on Conception Bay. Kent found a dilapidated house on a narrow ledge of land far from town. He renovated this curious cottage, adding a bedroom and a small studio. His family joined him, and at first, all was idyllic.
    But, soon, there were whispers about the sometimes arrogant American who lived in the strange little cottage on the cliffs. Rumors flew that Kent was a German spy sent to make maps and charts of the Newfoundland coast.
    Kent did nothing to dispel the gossip. In fact, he actively encouraged it. This response backfired and he was ordered to leave the country. The Kents left Newfoundland after a mere sixteen months.
Kent posing as German spy, Newfoundland, 1915
Kent posing as German spy, Newfoundland, 1915
Kent’s despair permeates his oil painting, “House of Dread”:
“Upon a bleak and lofty cliff’s edge, land’s end, stands a house. Against its corner, and facing seaward leans a man, naked. His head is bowed as though in utter dejection. And from an upper window leans a weeping woman. It is our cliff, our sea, our house, stripped bare and stark, its loneliness intensified.”
Back Previous SectionNewfoundlandNext Section Next



Thumbnail ImageHouse Of Dread, Newfoundland, 1915
oil on canvas
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.1.8]
Thumbnail ImageSelf Portrait I, 1915
oil on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.172.1]
Thumbnail ImageSelf Portrait II, 1915
oil on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.172.2]
Thumbnail ImageSelf Portrait III, 1915
oil on board
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.172.3]
About  Early Years  New Hampshire  Monhegan  Newfoundland  Alaska  Hogarth Jr.   Vermont   Tierra del Fuego   Ireland   Au Sable Farm
Book Illustrations   Bookplates   Greenland   Printmaking   Murals   Political Art   Commercial Work   Of Men and Mountains   The Kent Legacy
Top of Page

PSU Logo
Plattsburgh State University, Home Page

Copyright © 2009, The Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
All rights reserved. Copyright Statement
101 Broad Street, Plattsburgh, NY 12901
Phone: (518) 564-2474

Send comments to: Plattsburgh State Art Museum
Last Updated: 2/5/2009