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Summer 2014 Events

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2014 marked one hundred years of “artists in residence” at Landfall, starting with the American artist, Rockwell Kent.  The Landfall Trust, in partnership with The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery hosted an exciting slate of events and activities to commemorate his time here.

2014 Kent Centennial, a Commemoration of Rockwell Kent in Newfoundland

Rockwell Kent Newfoundland Home

Newfoundland Home. Courtesy of Plattsburgh State Art Museum, SUNY, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection, Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton. All rights reserved. Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, Maine; Museum Purchase with Funds Donated Anonymously.

LANDFALL comprises Kent Cottage and its eleven acres of surrounding rugged countryside, located on the north side of Brigus Bay, Newfoundland, Canada. Kent Cottage is a treasure in the province’s inventory of cultural and heritage assets.

Since its construction by the Pomeroy family some two hundred years ago, Kent Cottage has been hauntingly visible at the edge of Brigus. It is now the last remaining structure in the area known as “Freshwater,” where ships used to take on fresh water from the stream flowing from the hills behind, past the house, over the cliffs, and into the ocean.

While the structure dates back to the early 19th Century, it is its 20th Century occupants that have brought it fame. It has long been a retreat for artists and writers. Its most notorious occupant was Rockwell Kent, an acclaimed American artist who stayed at the cottage in 1914-1915.

Landfall figured prominently in Kent’s autobiography It’s Me O Lord (1955). Michael Winter’s award winning novel, The Big Why (2004), featured Rockwell Kent and much of his activity while at Landfall.

The community takes pride in the strong and colourful story of Landfall and its 20th Century occupants, especially Rockwell Kent.

Who was Rockwell Kent?

ROCKWELL KENT (1882-1971)—artist, author, and political activist—had a long and varied career. During his lifetime, he worked as an architectural draftsman, illustrator, printmaker, painter, lobsterman, carpenter, and dairy farmer. Born in Tarrytown Heights, New York, he lived in Maine, Newfoundland, Alaska, Greenland, and the Adirondacks and explored the waters around Tierra del Fuego in a small boat.

Rockwell Kent

Rockwell Kent, circa 1920

His time in Brigus (1914-15) began with the joyous discovery and renovation of the old Pomeroy house (now known as Kent Cottage), but his provocative behaviour led eventually to his sad departure.

Kent’s paintings, lithographs, and woodcuts often portrayed the bleak and rugged aspects of nature; a reflection of his attraction to harsh climates. His prodigious talent in book illustration is said to have made Moby Dick the classic it is today. His brief sojourn in Newfoundland marked a distinctive period in Kent’s art, as evidenced by his well-known oil painting House of Dread.

Exhibitions of his work continue to be broadly enjoyed today, in art museums from St. Petersburg to Plattsburg, New York. When Rockwell Kent died, the New York Times described him as “... a thoughtful, troublesome, profoundly independent, odd and kind man who made an imperishable contribution to the art of bookmaking in the United States.”

An internationally acclaimed artist, writer, and adventurer, Kent brought much notoriety to Landfall and continues to do so today even though he left there under a cloud of suspicion in 1915. His stay at Landfall was controversial and legendary—was he really the German spy he was rumored to have been? Or was he a free spirit misunderstood?

How Are We Commemorating Kent's Time in Newfoundland?

Rockwell Kent House of Dread

House of Dread. Rights Courtesy of Plattsburgh State Art Museum, SUNY, USA, Rockwell Kent Collection. Bequest of Sally Kent Gorton. All rights reserved.

THE LANDFALL TRUST, in partnership with The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, has organized an exciting slate of events to recognize Kent’s centennial in 2014…

EXHIBITION OF KENT’S ARTWORK: This was the anchor event, held at the Rooms Provincial Art Gallery from May 30 to September 21, curated by Caroline Stone.

DOCUMENTARY: Rockwell Kent: A Documentary was screened on May 30 and June 8, 2014 with the producer/director Frederick Lewis in attendance.

SYMPOSIUM: On May 31, June 1, and June 4, various local, Canadian and American speakers presented on Kent’s art, the history of the period in Newfoundland and Kent’s time here.

LITERARY EVENTS, On Wednesday, July 23, at The Rooms auditorium three authors (Michael Winter, Jane Urquhart, Mack Furlong, with Eleanor Wachtel as moderator) participated in a lively discussion about the appearance of Rockwell Kent as a character in their works of fiction. On Saturday, July 26, there were readings by the same authors at the Heritage Church in Brigus.  On Wednesday, July 30, 2014, Jason Sellars and Caroline Stone gave readings from Rockwell Kent and an Exhibition Tour at The Rooms.

FIGUREHEAD REPLICA: The Landfall Trust commissioned Newfoundland artist and wood carver Vince Jones to carve a replica of the wooden figurehead that Kent installed at the cottage in 1914 (see Newfoundland Home, top of page). On Saturday, June 21, Rockwell Kent's birthday, the figurehead (left) was unveiled at the cottage.

Lady if KentPRINT-MAKING WORKSHOPS: St. Michael’s Printshop partnered with the Landfall Trust to host a workshop on Sunday, August 17, 2014, in Brigus.

KENT CENTENNIAL WRAP-UP PRESENTATION: was held at The Rooms Auditorium, on Wednesday, September 3, with the Landfall Trust reviewing the highlights of the 2014 Rockwell Kent Centennial in Newfoundland.

Join six authors and friends of Landfall in the spring 2014 issue of the Rockwell Kent Review, published by the Plattsburg State Art Museum, including articles from our own Milly Brown and Caroline Stone.

Join Frederick Lewis and his Rockwell Kent article The Brigus Spy Scare published in the summer 2014 issue of the Newfoundland Quarterly.

Join Landfall's Dennis Flynn and his recent article Rockwell Kent, Artist and Enigma published in the June 2014 issue of Downhome Magazine.