Corita Kent (1918-
second version of Corita's art can still be seen in Boston
from I-93 on the natural gas
Sister Corita Kent
Corita Kent became
one of America's most popular graphic artists in the 1960s and '70s. Her career
as a printmaker
began in the 1950s
while she was a teaching nun in Los Angeles. Her work was "pop" in style,
espoused universal themes of love, hope, and peace. In the early '60s, Corita's
a more decidedly more political tenor, reflecting her interest in and support for
causes including civil rights, feminism, and anti-war activism.
art became an integral part of the peace movement of the late 1960s/early 1970s.Sister Mary
Corita Kent IHM (1918 - 1986), who became known simply as Corita, was this country's most popular
artist for a period of time in the 1960s.
New Englanders know Corita for her rainbow-like design on the National Grid liquefied natural
gas tank on Commercial Point in Dorchester, adjacent to the expressway leading into Boston.
The tank, unveiled in September 1972, caused a stir when some observers claim the design incorporated
the profile of Ho Chi Minh. The tank was later repainted to "soften" the alleged
Hearts, rainbows, flowers, and doves - these were the subjects that became synonymous with
Corita, along with upbeat sentiments about hope, peace, love, and faith. But the prints that
propelled her to international fame in the 1960s and early 1970s made powerful statements about
the Kennedy and King assassinations, the Vietnam War, and the Watts riots.
had a large exhibit of her prints at the 1964 New York World's fair and created the Beatitude
Wall for the Vatican Pavilion. Her work starting around this period of immense fame does not
confront contemporary culture with the refined religious imagery of her early work.
and Corita herself called her art Contemporary Gothic for its direct accessibility to the common
man without needing expert interpretation.
due to the growing demands of her art career (she had only two weeks a year to devote to her
art) and partly due to her dissatisfaction with the church - and vice versa - Sister Corita
left the order and teaching and moved to Boston in 1968. She said, "You sometimes must
stop, take stock, and start off in a new direction. It is like pruning a tree - then a burst
of new life."
hand-printed her serigraphs in edition sizes of 200 (on the average). The prints originally
sold from between $40. and $150. Current market value is as high as $5000 for especially rare
1985, a year before she died from cancer at age 67, the US Postmaster General asked Corita
to design one of the four "LOVE" stamps issued since 1973. "It was a high point
in my career," she said, "because the stamp will be seen all over the world."