Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Telephones 7788


Rockwell Kent (Tarrytown, New York, 7/21/1882 - 3/13/1971, Sable Forks, New York)



Creation Date

ca. 1920


20th century


14 5/16 in. x 10 15/16 in. (36.35 cm x 27.78 cm)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

pen and ink on paper

Credit Line

Museum Purchase with Funds Donated Anonymously


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

With a wry sense of humor, American artists John Sloan and Rockwell Kent reflect upon new inventions and their impact upon modes of socializing and entertainment. Jewelry Store Window suggests the way in which the electrification of streetlamps opened up the potential for nocturnal rambles through urban areas. If Sloan’s 1906 print suggests companionship, his 1926 depiction of the new technology of radiology suggests alienation, as physicians carefully study his organs with seemingly little regard for him has an individual. By a similar token, Rockwell Kent’s Party Wire seems to question the value of the telephone—often arranged on a multi-user “party” line in its early years. Precarious in its installation, the tangled line seems to fix its users in positions apart from one another and simultaneously raises prescient questions about the relationship of new communications technologies to personal privacy.

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