Sister Mary Corita Kent, American (1918 - 1986)

Corita Kent

Corita Kent (November 20, 1918 – September 18, 1986), aka Sister Mary Corita Kent, was born Frances Elizabeth Kent in Fort Dodge, Iowa. Kent was an artist and an educator who worked in Los Angeles and Boston. She worked almost exclusively with silkscreen and serigraphy, helping to establish it as a fine art medium. Her artwork, with its messages of love and peace, was particularly popular during the social upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Kent designed the 1985 United States Postal Service annual "love" stamp.

After high school, Kent entered the Roman Catholic order of Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles. She took classes at Otis (now Otis College of Art and Design) and Chouinard Art Institute and earned her BA from Immaculate Heart College in 1941. She earned her MA at the University of Southern California in Art History in 1951. Between 1938 and 1968 Kent lived and worked in the Immaculate Heart Community. She taught in the Immaculate Heart College and was the chairman of its art department. She left the order in 1968 and moved to Boston, where she devoted herself to making art. She died of cancer in 1986.

She was friends with Alfred Hitchcock, John Cage, Saul Bass, Buckminster Fuller and Charles and Ray Eames.

Kent created several hundred serigraph designs, for posters, book covers, and murals. Her work includes the 1985 Love Stamp and Rainbow Swash (1971), the 150-foot (46 m)-high natural gas tank in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston.

Publications (Partial List)

1967 Footnotes and Headlines: A Play-Pray Book, Sister Corita
1968 To Believe in God, poem by Joseph Pintauro, color by Sister Corita
1969 city, uncity, poems by Gerald Huckaby, pages by Corita Kent
1970 Damn Everything but the Circus, Corita Kent
1992 Learning By Heart: Teachings to Free the Creative Spirit, Corita Kent (posthumously) and Jan Steward
2000 "Life Stories of Artist Corita Kent (1918–1986): Her Spirit, Her Art, the Woman Within" (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Gonzaga University), Barbara Loste
Eye, No. 35, Vol. 9, edited by John L. Walters, Quantum Publishing, 2000.
2006 Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita, Julie Ault

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