Corita (Sister Mary) Kent

1918-1986, American

"What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose"

Screenprint in colors on paper
From the edition of unknown but presumably small size
Signed in pencil at the lower left: Corita; with the printed title in the image
Image: 9" H x 12" W; Sheet: 11" H x 14" W

  • Provenance: Commissioned by a Corporate Collection, and acquired from the artist
    Private Collection of a Corporate Executive, acquired from the above
    Private Collection, California, by descent from the above
  • Notes: "What the heart has once owned and had, it shall never lose." – Beecher

    In early 1969, the American pharmaceutical company Kenwood Laboratories, Inc., located in New Rochelle, New York, commissioned Corita Kent to create three works that were paeans, or songs of praise and triumph, to the human heart. Sister Corita Kent was an educator at Immaculate Heart of Mary, a prominent pop artist, and an advocate for social justice. Quoting the acclaimed poet Lord Byron, the American Congregationalist clergyman Henry Ward Beecher, and Desmalis, each work becomes an urban psalm that offers viewers a message of hope amidst the chaos of modern times.

    These three screen-prints in color are signed in pencil and displayed with vibrant colors and contrasted with black expressionistic brushstrokes. This is accompanied by handwritten quotes that are used for the title, highlighting the importance of the heart from the three acclaimed poets above. Corita Kent also painted a small heart on each screen print. The screen print acknowledges the heart through text and visual culture. Each of these prints is similar in structure but different in her individualized touch.

    Kenwood Laboratory, Inc. introduced a medication called "Papavatral" onto the American market that was designed to replace the multiple daily Nitroglycerin pills used to relieve Angina Pectoris with a single daily time-released dosage. This medical condition, which causes a person to experience chest pain or pressure, results from insufficient blood flow to the heart muscle. With the introduction of "Papavatral," the screen prints that Kent created produced a series of postcards reproducing each image used to advertise Papavatral across the nation. According to a descendant of the company's Founding Partner, Kent made a small run of each work that was eventually distributed to a small group of the company's corporate executives.

    To our knowledge, the three screen-prints featured in this sale are the first and only examples of these works ever appearing on the open market.
  • Condition: Good condition. With wide margins. Pale light staining. Residue from an approximately 4" long horizontal piece of cellophane tape in the upper margin, recto. Remains of old cellophane tape, glue, and former backing paper in places along the margin edges, verso. The sheet is loose, not mounted.


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October 25, 2022 4:00 PM PDT
Monrovia, CA, US

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Bid Increments
From: To: Increments:
$0 $499 $25
$500 $999 $50
$1,000 $1,999 $100
$2,000 $4,999 $250
$5,000 $9,999 $500
$10,000 $19,999 $1,000
$20,000 $49,999 $2,500
$50,000 $99,999 $5,000
$100,000 $199,999 $10,000
$200,000 $499,999 $25,000
$500,000 + $50,000