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ILLORSUIT / UUMMANNAQ FJORD REGION, GREENLAND. "DISCOVERIES OF THE KENT GREENLAND SUB POLAR EXPEDITION, 1931-2.".
- This magnificent and richly drafted pictographic map, by the celebrated American illustrator Rockwell Kent, depicts the region around Illorsuit, Greenland, where the artist resided for a year, from 1931 to 1932. The scene is taken from a southwestward-oriented perspective, in the manner of a bird’s eye view. With the virtuous juxtaposition of both subtle and vigorously rich shading, Kent enlivens the dramatic topography of glaciers and rocky shores, as icebergs flow into the waters of Baffin Bay, while place names are written in a very neat hand. During the 1930s and 1940s, Rockwell Kent was a famous man. He was one of America’s most renowned illustrators and mural designers, as well as a prominent progressive political activist. While feted in New York’s higher echelons, Kent regularly went on lengthy retreats to remote parts of the world in an effort to seek artistic inspiration and to seek relief from the stifling social scene of Manhattan. Kent had first visited Greenland in 1929 and was eager to return, noting that his previous visit had "had filled me with a longing to spend a winter there, to see and experience the far north at its spectacular worst; to know the people and share their way of life." In July 1931, Kent arrived in the village of Illorsuit, on Greenland’s west coast. He built a small house and after his "cursed libido" got a hold of him, began an affair with Salamina, his housekeeper. As a socialist, Kent considered the Inuit society to be a utopia, free of class distinctions and the pretentiousness he so disliked about home. He loved the Greenlanders and was captivated by the hauntingly beautiful Arctic scenery. He later recalled that his year in Illorsuit was the happiest and most artistically productive time of his life. However, Illorsuit was not completely cut-off from the outside world. One day, a German film crew suddenly arrived and began shooting scenes for the movie S.O.S. Eisberg. Even the libidinous Kent was astounded by the number of men that each night visited the tent of the film’s star, Leni Riefensthal, whom locals nicknamed "The Mattress". Kent recorded his year in Illorsuit in his book, Salamina (1935), which was imbued throughout with his trademark wry sense of humour and almost shocking candour. Named after his Greenlandic mistress, but dedicated to Kent’s then wife, Frances (a very bold move – perhaps too bold - Kent and Frances later divorced!), the book was illustrated with numerous drawings by the author. Very well received upon its publication, Salamina is considered to be one of Kent’s greatest works. The present map, an original hand-drawn artwork by Rockwell Kent, exquisitely sets the geographical scene of Salamina. Kent drafted it, either upon his return to New York State or during his final trip to Greenland in 1935, when he was frenetically preparing the book’s illustrations for his publisher. The present manuscript map was the basis for the printed map that appeared opposite the opening page of Salamina. The printed version is true to its antecedent, save for the alteration of a few place names. Near the centre of the map is "Igdlorssuit" (the contemporary name of Illorsuit), where Kent resided, located on what the Danes called "Ubekjendt Eiland ("Unknown Island," today spelled "Ubekendt"), which Kent renamed "Kjendt Eiland" ("Known Island"), following his acquaintance with the region. To the east, over "Igdlorssuit Sound," are a series of fjords and ice fields, leading into the interior of Greenland, dominated by the mysterious mass of "Inland Ice". To the south, over the "Umanak Fiord" (Uummannaq Fjord), is the "Nugsuak" (Nuussuaq) Peninsula, and beyond, "Disko Id." Kent’s whimsical humour is marvelously revealed on the map. Always irreverent of pompous tradition and commercial pandering, Kent takes aim at the longstanding propensity of European explorers to "name" (ie. rename) lands and geographical features that had already been given names by their non-European indigeno
      [Bookseller: Antiquariat Dasa Pahor]
Last Found On: 2015-11-18           Check availability:      IberLibro    

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