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Image of Woman Washing Clothes in a Tub ("Worth Fighting For") 7798


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


Woman Washing Clothes in a Tub ("Worth Fighting For")

Creation Date

ca. 1940


20th century

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

brush 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


Object Description

From: Joachim Homann
Date: Thursday, June 30, 2016 at 11:39 AM
To: Bowdoin IT
Cc: Michelle Henning
Subject: EmbArk scholar's comment and image 1971.79.54

Dear Laura,

It would be great to put Jake Wien’s comment in the scholar’s field in EmbArk. Would there also be a chance to link the image or is that too complicated (Note from Laura 6/30/16: Comparison image can be found under Images & Documents)? I will put this into the object file as well.



From: "Jake M. Wien"
Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 7:36 PM
To: Joachim Homann
Subject: Re: This Week

Dear Joachim,

I fully sympathize with your need to go "off the grid" and focus without interruption on completing your draft.

Identifying the Kent pen/brush and ink drawing you attached took no time at all. This is because Kent ingeniously crafted a new style for each of his drafting projects. There are countless Kents--but all of them are the same person. The Kent who conceived this drawing is the Kent of "This is My Own".

I've attached the page on which the drawing is reproduced: page 239 of Kent's Adirondack memoir "This is My Own" (1940). The drawing is the heading for Chapter XXVIII (28). Over the decades I have had the privilege of inspecting many of the ink drawings for this book and all of the chapter headings have not only been signed in pencil by Kent (as is this one) but they also have had the chapter number inscribed in pencil in the bottom margin. I suspect "XXVIII" was originally inscribed on the sheet bottom (recto) but has been erased. You might want to title the drawing with the chapter title "Worth Fighting For". In the next paragraph I explain that what Kent means in full is "A Freedom Worth Fighting For".

You asked about context for understanding and appreciating the subject matter of the drawing. Although hand washing in a tub is not mentioned in the chapter, the drawing does provide an evocation of Kent's story about the founding of his estate as "the creation ... of an island in the sea of northern Adirondack farms and wilderness, of an artist's refuge from the turmoil of the city.... a vision of peaceful living as Man in every age has had and, in the unrest and uncertainty of today [with WWII hostilities in Europe threatening to cross the Atlantic], men still perceive and still believe in as some day attainable." (p. 242 of Chapter XXVIII) The model in the drawing is his wife Frances Lee Kent, which is appropriate given that the scope of the memoir is their life together at Asgaard, their Adirondack estate.

Tomorrow afternoon I will be revisiting the BCMA galleries with a good friend who lives on the water in nearby Freeport.

I look forward to catching up with you later in the summer. Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

All the best,



Keywords: Adirondacks   housewife   illustration   labor   laundry  

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