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American artist, illustrator and printmaker Rockwell Kent was born in New York and spent much of his early life and training in and around the city. Among the more notable artists with whom he studied are William Merritt Chase, Kenneth Hayes Miller and Robert Henri. Despite his initial interest in painting and his association with important Ash Can School propoents, Kent is best known for his prolific and insightful wood engravings and his book illustrations, working more from the aesthetic influences of British illustrators such as William Blake, William Hogarth and The Pre-Raphaelites.
A political and social activist, Rockwell Kent championed civil rights causes from the 1930's until his death. This concern with the human experience often translated into an unlikely, but poignant, combination of social realism and transcendental mysticism. "I don't want petty self-expression", Kent wrote, "I want the elemental, infinite thing; I want to paint the rhythm of eternity.” For although Kent was interested in grand spiritual narratives, they were always shown through the human eye and experience.