Every time I come to work in the snow, I think of this painting. While living in Dublin, New Hampshire, a place far more acquainted with snow than DC, Rockwell Kent painted what he himself referred to as his “best known example of that winter’s work.” Moving powerfully down the driveway of the house he shared with his friend Gerald Thayer, the roller packed the snow on the roads to make way for horse-drawn sleighs. This is one of the few paintings Kent preceded with a preliminary sketch, housed in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Marsden Hartley inscribed this work for his friend Rockwell Kent in 1912, who later gifted it to Duncan Phillips. Phillips wrote to Kent, “The Hartley is so fine a picture that I hesitate to accept it but the reason you give is a good one, namely that in our Gallery many people will enjoy it to the artist’s benefit and to our mutual satisfaction.” It was one of Phillips’s favorite works. You can find it on view now in the Dining Room.