Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rockwell Kent Odds and Ends

I have been sorting through my Rockwell Kent items and have selected a few that may interest you. The art deco 1939 Christmas seals were designed by Kent along with the 1940 United We Stand Stamp

Rockwell Kent designed the plate on the right for George Henry Corey. Dr. Shaftel liked it so much he "borrowed" the design for his own bookplate.

I have selected three of my favorite Kent bookplate designs. The Pickering plate just arrived via EBay. It is atypical. So much so that I had to look it up in Don Robert's book Rockwell Kent The Art Of The Bookplate to make sure it was by Kent.

The Rockwell Kent mystery I mentioned last week is still unsolved although I suspect that the Perry Molstad plate was not done by Kent. Here is Don Roberts response:

"When I started researching the book, I started out with Dan Byrne Jones' list. As it turned out, the list wasn't complete, and there were a few items listed that weren't actually bookplates. I never found a trace of a bookplate for Perry Molstad, but left him on the final list. There was no Molstad bookplate among Kent's own samples of his bookplate art (in a shoebox at Plattsburgh), no correspondence among his letters, no sketches in the collections at Columbia and Princeton. The question is how Jones compiled his list. I would assume from what ended up at Plattsburgh, but who knows? Seeing the bookplate, with the "C" mark makes me wonder if it's Kent's work. It certainly has all the elements of his early bookplates, although the design is comparatively staid. It seems to me that if the date is correct, this bookplate would've appeared in one of the two books that Elmer Adler published. I know they were really scrambling to come up with enough work for each volume. And Adler would most likely have been the printer of the bookplate.In the years since my book was published, I've hoped that more bookplates would turn up. I came across numerous sketches for bookplates, but no evidence that Kent ever got beyond rough sketches. Occasionally someone will send me something and ask if it's Kent's, and in every case I've been reasonably sure that it wasn't. Given the number of artists who emulated his style, I'm a bit doubtful now that Perry Molstad's was by Kent. We'll probably never know for sure.By the way, I've just received the contract from a publisher in China for a translated edition of my RK book. This has been in discussion by e-mail for ten months, and I hope it works out. I can't imagine how well it will translate.Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.All the best,Don "
If you feel energized and creative I would encourage you to write something about your bookplate collection for future inclusion in the blog.
It has been a while since I have had a collector profile and most of them have come from American collectors. I would like to include some from other countries . Send me a paragraph or two and if any changes are made I will get your permission before publishing.
Send your information to
See you next Sunday.

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