Take a visual journey through Voltaire's Candide

Rockwell Kent’s Candide



Illustration by Rockwell Kent
from: Voltaire. Candide.
New York: Random House,
1928. NYPL, Rare Book Division. By Permission of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum, The Rockwell Kent Gallery & Collection.

Rockwell Kent painting a mural 15 feet high and 50 feet long for the General Electric Company exhibition at the 1939 New York World's Fair, "portraying the vital influences of electricity on human progress from the dark ages to the present, and its promise for the world of tomorrow."

NYPL, Manuscripts and Archives Division, New York World’s Fair 1939–40 Incorporated Records.
Digital ID 1674127.


Take an illustrated journey with Candide, Dr.
Pangloss, Cunegonde, and others, conducted by 
artist Rockwell Kent, by clicking on the links at left!

In 1928, Random House commissioned the great American artist Rockwell Kent (1882–1971) to illustrate Voltaire's Candide as the first book under its imprint. The volume's colophon page contains the image of a house — intended to be where Candide and his companions lived and where they cultivated the final garden of the tale — which became the company’s logo, still in use today. Kent’s Candide is one of the landmarks of the American illustrated book, with specially made paper from France, a new typeface from Germany, and multiple illustrations, all exquisitely integrated. Random House issued a limited edition of 1,470 copies and another 95, these hand-colored in the artist's studio. Kent's nearly four score inset illustrations and numerous illustrated capitals serve as an unusually elegant journey through Voltaire's world of "liars, cheats, traitors, ingrates, brigands, idiots, thieves, scoundrels, gluttons, drunkards, misers, envious, ambitious, bloody-minded, calumniators, debauchees, fanatics, hypocrites, and fools."

The Rockwell Kent Gallery and Collection of the Plattsburgh State Art Museum, State University of New York, holds the most complete collection of the artist's work in the United States.