Although reluctant to identify himself as a “modernist,” Rockwell Kent’s spare painterly style, influenced by his early training as an architect, reflects an affinity for abstract qualities of color and form. An avid adventurer, this painting may reflect an episode described by the artist in his book N by E: “One day as I sat at work I heard a gunshot, and looking up, saw two kayaks and an umiak or women’s boat filled with people approaching my camp. . . . I invited them all up to my tent. . . . in little time we were all drinking hot coffee with lots of sugar in it and eating rye bread spread extremely thick with butter. . . . Presently, the repast having been finished, the guests arose, thanked me cordially and took their departure. . . . Two men got into their kayaks and the third enthroned himself on the top of the household goods in the stern of the umiak; the women, as usual, manned the oars.”
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