AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY THE POP ART PIONEER. Corita or Sister Mary Corita Kent, born Frances Elizabeth Kent.

AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED BY THE POP ART PIONEER

A holographic letter on Immaculate Heart College letterhead from the American Roman Catholic religious sister and Pop Art pioneer. Undated, it was likely written in the mid-1960s, prior to her return to secular life in 1968 as Corita Kent.

The letter was written in reply to Eugene Anthony “Gene” McNerney, Jr. (1899-80), a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia who worked as newspaper artist and magazine illustrator before embarking on a distinguished career in the Marine Corps. Attributing the delay in responding to her hectic schedule, she writes, “We’re not really ungrateful – just inefficient … after teaching three successive summer sessions, it almost seems tame to be back in regular session.” Kent also makes reference to an ad she placed in Graphis Annual, and two individuals associated with her work with the Department of Fine Arts, concluding with an invitation to an open house and sale.

Kent served as the chair of the Department of Fine Arts at Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles. After the Second Vatican Council, she transformed the college’s annual Mary’s Day procession into a community celebration which was part of the sister’s campaign to bring secular people together. During this time, Kent’s work became increasingly political, addressing events such as the Vietnam War and humanitarian crises. Incorporating brilliant colors and bold shapes, her art was her activism. Tensions between the order and church leadership were mounting, with the Los Angeles Archdiocese criticizing the college as “liberal” and Cardinal James McIntyre labeling Kent’s work as “blasphemous” which hastened her departure from the order. Most sisters followed suit and the Immaculate Heart College closed in 1980. Kent continued to create spiritually-informed artwork, primarily silkscreen or serigraphy, which played an important role in the renaissance of the poster as a medium of communication and continues to influence graphic design well into the 20th century.

One page (8 ½” x 11”), folded into thirds for mailing. Some uneven toning; otherwise very good. Item #73222

Price: $350.00