Schiller Collection: Rockwell Kent

11 Dec

Kent_WmnMst_pgRockwell Kent, And Women Must Weep, 1937, Lithograph

The Schiller Collection is currently being held over at the Columbus Museum of Art in Columbus, Ohio. Above, is the image I chose to write about out of all the pieces in the collection.

The Schiller Collection definitely has a theme to it, especially when looking at the varying interests of the Schiller Family. When paging through the book that the Museum had available, it really cam down a to a few points; Economic, War, and Race and Ethnicity. Out of those three it really came down to social justice and modern meanings behind the works. After looking through the book, I didn’t find it strange at all that Rockwell’s works should be included.

During Rockwell Kent’s life, he traveled throughout North America and found inspiration for his work after experiencing the landscape around the area. In the 1950s, he was blacklisted for being to leftist in his activism during the Red Scare. He ended up donating a majority of his work (More than 800 pieces) to the Soviet Union in the 1960s and has left many in the United States after his death.

This is a great example of his work just due to the fact that it’s a little different in how this isn’t a usual landscape piece and the emotions are clearly conveyed in this one. It’s obviously about grief and war and how women had to deal with losing husbands, brothers, and fathers to the drafts of WWII. The heavy shadowing on her body and the way it’s leaning up against the frame, head bowed unable to see her facial features suggests that she wants to hide her grief but her whole body conveys it in her stance and actions. Hidden somewhat behind the fence is a man marching off from his home, back turned from the woman. At this, we can only assume that this is the person she is crying over.

There are some wonderful motifs in here as far as how the theme of war and grief come across. I like that it greatly shows the level of what people had to go through when they had to watch a member of their family leave or possibly never come back. I’m sure as that man was walking away, that’s what many women were thinking, “Is this the last time I will see them?”

Also, the fine, minute details of the piece really draw you throughout the picture. The lighting, the atmosphere, the actual background with all the little details are just wonderful and contribute greatly to the overall work. Also, the composition is wonderful. You can’t help but look first at the woman and then as your eyes move throughout the work and you follow the fence heading down the hill, that is when you see the man and then the realization hits you that she is crying because someone she loves is going off to war.

L. Engle


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