Collection Artwork
Corita Kent (Fort Dodge, Iowa, 1918 – 1986, Boston, Massachusetts)
for the oaks
Hambly Studios (Santa Clara, California, established 1959 – 2012)
paper size: 23 1/8 x 22 7/8 in.
Gift of Harry Hambly, serigrapher, Hambly Studios
printed in Santa Clara, California, United States, North America

Object Label

Corita Kent was a Roman Catholic nun, artist, and activist who spent most of her life in Los Angeles. In the late 1960s, however, she left the Catholic Church and relocated to Boston. Her work frequently incorporates excerpts from poetry, literature, folklore, and religious texts. Made shortly after moving to Boston, for the oaks quotes Walt Whitman’s Song of Myself, 14 from Leaves of Grass: “The press of my foot to the earth springs a hundred affections.” This poetry collection was a pivotal work for Whitman: inspired by the transcendentalist movement happening in and around Boston, he shifted his focus from religion and philosophy to the pleasures of the body and material world. This shift resembles Kent’s experience after leaving the Catholic Church to pursue her artistic career. Nature is a frequent theme in her work, such as in for the oaks, a bold but simple print that references the landscape with abstracted shapes. Through the use of Whitman’s poetry, Kent exalts the sensuous connection between body and earth.
–Caroline Coxe ’20

From the exhibition: Lover Earth
Art and Ecosexuality (May 30 – August 23, 2020)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.
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