As promised, I wanted to write more about the textile designs I saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This was the original drawing that caught my eye. The design, entitled Swaying Trees, is by American artist Rockwell Kent.
This was a big surprise for me! Kent (1882 – 1971) studied painting under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri. I’d learned a bit about his paintings while working at an art gallery. Henri encouraged Kent to paint landscapes of Monhegan island in Maine on his own. This experience of painting directly in nature greatly affected Kent. Whatever medium he chose, Kent’s work always captures the amazing power of nature.
Kent gained a reputation of a neo-Transcendentalist because of this. Transcendentalism was a philosophy that originated in the 1830s and asserted that spiritual experiences could be observed in nature. Time spent in nature often created a mystical or transcendental experience to those that followed this philosophy.
You can see that his textile designs capture natural themes. The other accompanying design is called Running Deer. Both of these were realized in 1950. Kent made a similar design for Bloomcraft Inc called Deer Season, which you can see below: