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Kent’s boat, The Kathleen, Tierra del Fuego, 1922
Kent’s boat, The Kathleen, Tierra del Fuego, 1922

    Kent’s increasing fame was his passport to New York’s high society, where he met a woman who bewitched him with her beauty and rebellious nature. The stormy affair that followed left him dazed and distraught. “If there’s a worse place than New York City,” he declared, “I will go there.”

    The artist signed on as a clerk on a freighter bound for Chile and developed a vague scheme to brave the legendary hazards of Cape Horn. After transforming an old lifeboat into a sailing vessel and then abandoning it in Admiralty Sound, Kent and a colleague crossed through a mountain range on foot to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

    There, he rented a small sloop and somehow convinced a Swedish settler named Christopherson to guide him through the intricate, uncharted waterways of the Wollastons, the most exposed islands of the archipelago.

    From Voyaging, Kent’s written account of his journey:
    It was a restless, tossing sea, not wind blown but more terrible in that it seemed to lift and fall by some energy within itself.
    Christopherson turned to me. “I think,” he said, softly, “we must turn back.”
    Did I cry out in strong defiance, “Hell, keep her south”? No. We were wet and cold and miserable, and I was afraid. And we turned and ran for shelter. And the voyage of 6000 miles was ended, and the Horn was lost.
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Thumbnail ImageVoyaging: Frontispiece, Portrait Of Me (Improved), 1923
linecut on paper
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.2.62]
Thumbnail ImageAdmiralty Sound, Tierra del Fuego, c.1922-23
oil on panel
Gift of Sally Kent Gorton
[X1978.1.7]
Thumbnail ImageVoyaging:, 1924
wood engraving
Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton
[P52000.9.63]
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