Europe

Although publishers and readers favored optimistic, light-hearted depictions of life, illustrators occasionally addressed difficult social issues. The political opinions of Kent—a dedicated advocate for social justice—often come through in his work.  Europe, completed shortly after World War II, features a melancholy personification of the continent that reflects grimly upon the task of reconstruction.

Funeral Pyre (from the “Beowulf” suite)

Kent worked as an engraver, muralist, lithographer, and painter, and also enjoyed a prolific career as a writer. He provided illustrations for over 140 books, twenty five of which he wrote. He illustrated favorites such as Moby Dick, The Canterbury Tales, works by Shakespeare, and a 1932 edition of Beowulf that included Funeral Pyre.

And Now Where?

Although publishers and readers favored optimistic, light-hearted depictions of life, illustrators occasionally addressed difficult social issues. The political opinions of Kent—a dedicated advocate for social justice—often come through in his work. The tired figures and title And Now Where? suggest a pervasive sense of helplessness during the Great Depression.