Great River Shakespeare Festival (GRSF) continues the centennial anniversary celebration of Rockwell Kent’s year-long stay in Winona with the auctioning of an original Kent print. Currently the print is displayed at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum (MMAM) with the exhibit "Shakespeare Illustrations by Rockwell Kent: Ralf Nemec Collection,” that displays 20 of the 40 Shakespeare illustrations.
The print that will be auctioned off by GRSF is this Rockwell Kent self-portrait from his time in Alaska.
Ralf Nemec generously donated the Rockwell Kent self-portrait that is up for auction, said Lee Gunderscheimer, GRSF Managing Director. Bids are currently being accepted at the MMAM until 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, Gunderscheimer explained. “All you have to do is buy a ticket to the museum and in the exhibit is a place to bid on the print.”
The print was appraised at approximately $2,500, but the minimum starting bid is $1,000. The money raised will help continue to fund the festival.
Doug Scholz-Carlson, education director with GRSF, believes that Kent put great thought into how to best represent the words of Shakespeare. “I find it intriguing that Kent often chooses less famous moments from the plays to illustrate,” Scholz-Carlson noted. It is obvious Kent knew the plays very well, he added.
Shakespeare Illustrations by Rockwell Kent: Ralf Nemec Collection
Andrew Maus, executive director of MMAM, noted that the museum is proud to be displaying yet another Rockwell Kent exhibit this year. Rockwell Kent, a Winona resident 100 years ago, is most famous for illustrating the 1930 edition of Moby Dick. Kent also illustrated the Complete Works of Shakespeare, a total of 40 prints, 20 of which are currently on display at MMAM. The plan is to display the second set of Shakespeare prints at a later date, Maus explained.
As part of the 100-year celebration, there was an exhibit of Rockwell Kent’s original art at MMAM earlier. The popularity of that show led to the decision to bring back the Shakespeare prints during the Shakespeare Festival. Of the prints currently on display, Maus has only positive things to say — “they’re dramatic, seemingly simple, but very complex.”
Maus also mentioned how happy MMAM is to be able to use these outstanding works to support Shakespeare. “It’s something we love doing,” he noted.
Rockwell Kent spent much of his life traveling throughout the world, but for a brief while, from 1912-1913, he called Winona home.
Although he was an artist, Kent took several jobs over the years to help pay the bills. He held jobs at construction sites, as an eclectic fruit and vegetable vendor, and superintendent of a building project here in Winona of a building project for an architectural firm. Kent worked on the Briarcombe construction site, overseeing the Pleasant Valley mansions. Kent was known to trade his original paintings for goods or money.
For more details on Kent’s life, check out his autobiography, “It’s Me O Lord.”
To see the exhibit Shakespeare Illustrations by Rockwell Kent: Ralf Nemec Collection, visit the MMAM between now and August 11, 2013. The hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission is $7 for adults and senior citizens, students $3, and children 4 and under are free. Members of MMAM may attend at no charge. For details on the exhibit visit www.minnesotamarineart.org or www.grsf.org/festival-events/rockwell-kent.