Marsden Hartley in 1939
January 4, 1877
Lewiston, Maine, USA
|Died||September 2, 1943 (aged 66)|
|Education||Cleveland Institute of Art, National Academy of Design|
Hartley was born in Lewiston, Maine, where his English parents had settled. He was the youngest of nine children. His mother died when he was eight, and his father remarried four years later to Martha Marsden. His birth name was Edmund Hartley; he later assumed Marsden as his first name when he was in his early 20s. A few years after his mother's death when Hartley was 14, his family moved to Ohio, leaving him behind in Maine to work in a shoe factory for a year. These bleak occurrences led Hartley to recall his New England childhood as a time of painful loneliness, so much so that in a letter to Alfred Stieglitz, he once described the New England accent as "a sad recollection [that] rushed into my very flesh like sharpened knives."
In 1898, at age 22, Hartley moved to New York City to study painting at the New York School of Art under William Merritt Chase, and then attended the National Academy of Design. Hartley was a great admirer of Albert Pinkham Ryder and visited his studio in Greenwich Village as often as possible. His friendship with Ryder, in addition to the writings of Walt Whitman and American transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, inspired Hartley to view art as a spiritual quest.
Hartley moved to an abandoned farm near Lovell, Maine, in 1908. He considered the paintings he produced there his first mature works, and they also impressed New York photographer and art promoter Alfred Stieglitz. Hartley had his first solo exhibition at Stieglitz's 291 in 1909, and exhibited his work there again in 1912. Stieglitz also provided Hartley's introduction to European modernist painters, of whom Cézanne, Picasso, and Matisse would prove the most influential upon him.
Hartley first traveled to Europe for the first time in April 1912, and he became acquainted with Gertrude Stein's circle of avante-garde writers and artists in Paris. Stein, along with Hart Crane and Sherwood Anderson, encouraged Hartley to write as well as paint.
In a letter to Alfred Stieglitz, Hartley explains his disenchantment of living abroad in Paris. A single year has passed since he began living overseas. "Like every other human being I have longings which through tricks of circumstances have been left unsatisfied... and the pain grows stronger instead of less and it leaves one nothing but the role of spectator in life watching life go by-having no part of it but that of spectator." Hartley wanted to live within the noiseless countryside and an invigorating city.
In April 1913 Hartley relocated to Berlin, the capital of the German Empire, where he continued to paint and befriended the painters Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc. He also collected Bavarian folk art. His work during this period was a combination of abstraction and German Expressionism, fueled by his personal brand of mysticism. Many of Hartley's Berlin paintings were further inspired by the German military pageantry then on display, though his view of this subject changed after the outbreak of World War I, once war was no longer "a romantic but a real reality." The earliest of his Berlin paintings were shown in the landmark 1913 Armory Show in New York.
In Berlin, Hartley developed a close relationship with a Prussian lieutenant, Karl von Freyburg, who was the cousin of Hartley's friend Arnold Ronnebeck. References to Freyburg were a recurring motif in Hartley's work, most notably in Portrait of a German Officer (1914). Freyburg's subsequent death during the war hit Hartley hard, and he afterward idealized their relationship. Many scholars interpreted his work regarding Freyburg as embodying his homosexual feelings for him. Hartley lived in Berlin until December 1915.
Hartley returned to the U.S. from Berlin as a German sympathizer following World War I. Hartley created paintings with much German iconography. The homoerotic tones were overlooked as critics focused on the German point of view. Hartley argued with a lie that there was "no hidden symbolism whatsoever."
Hartley finally returned to the U.S. in early 1916. Following World War I Hartley was obligated to return to the United States. Upon his return Hartley painted Handsome Drinks. The drinkware calls back to the gatherings hosted by Gertrude Stein, where Hartley met Pablo Picasso, and Robert Delaunay.
He lived in Europe again from 1921 to 1930, when he moved back to the U.S. for good. He painted throughout the country, in Massachusetts, New Mexico, California, and New York. He returned to Maine in 1937, after declaring that he wanted to become "the painter of Maine" and depict American life at a local level. This aligned Hartley with the Regionalism movement, a group of artists active from the early- to mid-20th century that attempted to represent a distinctly "American art." He continued to paint in Maine, primarily scenes around Lovell and the Corea coast, until his death in Ellsworth in 1943. His ashes were scattered on the Androscoggin River.
Towards the end of his life Hartley fell in with Alty Mason, a young fisherman. The relationship ended with the passing of Mason. He along with several relatives drowned at sea.
Hartley is bashful when it came to his homosexuality, often redirecting attention towards other aspects of his work. Works such as Portrait of a German Officer, and Handsome Drinks are coded. The compositions honor lovers, friends, and inspirational sources. Hartley no longer felt unease at what people thought of his work once he reached his sixties. Scenes became more intimate from locker rooms to muscular hairy-chested men in what appear to be short trousers . Flaming American (Swim Champ) of 1940 has no need to decipher the homoerotic undertones. As Hartley's German Officer paintings were misread as being pro-German, these new paintings were misinterpreted as being pro-American.
Unlike contemporaries that attached an intense sexuality to the human form, Hartley would mask his homosexuality. In a personal memoir that was not finished, Hartley wrote "I began somehow to have curiosity about art at the time when sex consciousness is fully developed and as I did not incline to concrete escapades. I of course inclined to abstract ones, and the collecting of objects which is a sex expression took the upper hand." Hartley's use of object abstraction became the motif for his paintings that commemorate his "love object," Karl von Freyburg. Within his paintings, the way Hartley conveyed his emotions regarding his friend's traits was through everyday items. In this painting the Iron Cross, Flag of Bavaria and German flag are attributes to Karl von Freyburg, along with the yellow '24', the age he was when he passed away.
In addition to being considered one of the foremost American painters of the first half of the 20th century, Hartley also wrote poems, essays, and stories. His book Twenty-five Poems was published by Robert McAlmon in Paris in 1923.
Cleophas and His Own: A North Atlantic Tragedy is a story based on two periods he spent in 1935 and 1936 with the Mason family in the Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia, fishing community of East Point Island. Hartley, then in his late 50s, found there both an innocent, unrestrained love and the sense of family he had been seeking since his unhappy childhood in Maine. The impact of this experience lasted until his death in 1943 and helped widen the scope of his mature works, which included numerous portrayals of the Masons.
He wrote of the Masons, "Five magnificent chapters out of an amazing, human book, these beautiful human beings, loving, tender, strong, courageous, dutiful, kind, so like the salt of the sea, the grit of the earth, the sheer face of the cliff." In Cleophas and His Own, written in Nova Scotia in the fall of 1936 and re-printed in Marsden Hartley and Nova Scotia, Hartley expresses his immense grief at the tragic drowning of the Mason sons. The independent filmmaker Michael Maglaras has created a feature film Cleophas and His Own, released in 2005, which uses a personal testament by Hartley as its screenplay.
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The year 1943 in art involved some significant events and new works.291 (art gallery)
291 is the commonly known name for an internationally noted art gallery that was located in Midtown Manhattan at 291 Fifth Avenue in New York City from 1905 to 1917. Originally known as the "Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession", the gallery was created and managed by photographer Alfred Stieglitz.
The gallery is noted for two reasons. First, the exhibitions there helped bring art photography to the same stature in America as painting and sculpture. Pioneering artistic photographers such as Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Alvin Langdon Coburn, Gertrude Käsebier and Clarence H. White all gained critical recognition through exhibitions at 291. Equally important, Stieglitz used this space to introduce to the United States some of the most avant-garde European artists of the time, including Henri Matisse, Auguste Rodin, Henri Rousseau, Paul Cézanne, Pablo Picasso, Constantin Brâncuși, and the Dadaists Francis Picabia and Marcel Duchamp.Arnold Rönnebeck
Arnold Rönnebeck (May 8, 1885 – November 14, 1947) was a German-born American modernist artist and museum administrator. He was a vital member of both the European and American avant-garde movements of the early twentieth century before settling in Denver, Colorado. Rönnebeck is best known for his lithographs that featured a range of subjects including New York cityscapes, New Mexico and Colorado landscapes and Native American dances.Barbara Haskell
Barbara Haskell (born 1946 in San Diego, California) is an American art historian and a museum curator. She is currently a curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where she has worked since 1975. She has previously worked at the San Francisco Museum of Art and Pasadena Museum. She has a BA (1969) from the University of California, Los Angeles.Her area of expertise is early to mid-20th-century painting and sculpture, including American Modernists, Abstract Expressionists, and Pop artists. She is the founder and leader of the American Fellows, a patrons group for major donors to the Whitney.Among the landmark thematic exhibitions she has curated are The American Century: Art & Culture 1900–1950 (1999), and BLAM! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958–1964 (1984). In addition, she has curated retrospectives and authored accompanying scholarly monographs on a range of early-20th-century and post-war American artists, including H.C. Westermann (1978), Marsden Hartley (1980), Milton Avery (1982), Ralston Crawford (1985), Charles Demuth (1987), Red Grooms (1987), Donald Judd (1988), Burgoyne Diller (1990), Agnes Martin (1992), Joseph Stella (1994), Edward Steichen (2000), Elie Nadelman (2003), Oscar Bluemner (2005), Georgia O'Keeffe (2009), Lyonel Feininger (2011), Robert Indiana (2013), Stuart Davis (2016), and Grant Wood (2018).Bates College Museum of Art
The Bates College Museum of Art is the art museum of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine. It holds various mediums of arts that showcase Maine and the greater American area. The museum's collection offers an overview of modern and contemporary art. The Museum publishes numerous art collections, and art publications every year. The primary focuses of the main collections are works on paper, including modern and contemporary art including drawings, prints and photographs.It is the largest museum of art in the city of Lewiston, Maine, followed by Museum L/A. In the 1930s, the college secured a private holding from the Museum of Modern Art of Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night, for students participating in the 'Bates Plan'. It holds 5,000 pieces and objects of contemporary domestic and international art. The museum holds over 100 original artworks, photographs and sketches from Marsden Hartley. The MoA offers numerous lectures, artist symposiums, and workshops.
The entire space is split into three components, the larger Upper Gallery, smaller Lower Gallery, and the Synergy Gallery which is primarily used for student exhibits and research. Almost 20,000 visitors are attracted to the MoA annually. The museum opened on October 7, 1955, as the Treat Gallery by Norma Berger, the niece of Marsden Hartley. With the ushering of the Olin Arts Center on to the campus, the gallery was formed into the Museum of Art at Bates College in 1986. The scope was also increased to facilitate educational programming in sync to the scholarly pursuits of the college and with the Lewiston-Auburn community.
In 2005, the museum reorganized into four galleries: the Bates Gallery, Collection Gallery, the Underground Synergy Seminar space, and the 150 Art Reader Stairwell. As of 2010 the director of the museum is Dan Mills.Charles Demuth
Charles Henry Buckius Demuth (November 8, 1883 – October 23, 1935) was an American watercolorist who turned to oils late in his career, developing a style of painting known as Precisionism.
"Search the history of American art," wrote Ken Johnson in The New York Times, "and you will discover few watercolors more beautiful than those of Charles Demuth. Combining exacting botanical observation and loosely Cubist abstraction, his watercolors of flowers, fruit and vegetables have a magical liveliness and an almost shocking sensuousness."Demuth was a lifelong resident of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The home he shared with his mother is now the Demuth Museum, which showcases his work. He graduated from Franklin & Marshall Academy before studying at Drexel University and at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. While he was a student at PAFA, he participated in a show at the Academy, and also met William Carlos Williams at his boarding house. The two were fast friends and remained close for the rest of their lives.
He later studied at Académie Colarossi and Académie Julian in Paris, where he became a part of the avant garde art scene. The Parisian artistic community was accepting of Demuth's homosexuality. After his return to America, Demuth retained aspects of Cubism in many of his works.Columbus Museum of Art
The Columbus Museum of Art is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio. Formed in 1878 as the Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts, it was the first art museum to register its charter with the state of Ohio. The museum is dedicated to collecting and exhibiting American and European modern and contemporary art along with folk art, glass art, and photography. In 2011, the Museum opened The Center for Creativity, an 18,000 sq ft (1,700 m2) space that includes galleries, gathering areas, and places for workshops that allow visitors to engage in hands-on activities.
In 2013, the Museum was awarded the National Medal, the Nation's highest honor for museums, from the Institute of Library and Museum Services.Edith Halpert
Edith Halpert or Edith Gregor Halpert (née Edith Gregoryevna Fivoosiovitch) (1900–1970) was a pioneering New York City dealer of American modern art and American folk art. She brought recognition and market success to many avant-garde American artists. Her establishment, the Downtown Gallery, was the first commercial art space in Greenwich Village. When it was founded in 1926, it was the only New York gallery dedicated exclusively to contemporary American art by living artists. Over her forty-year career, Halpert showcased such modern art luminaries as Elie Nadelman, Max Weber, Marguerite and William Zorach, Stuart Davis, Peggy Bacon, Charles Sheeler, Marsden Hartley, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, Ben Shahn, Jack Levine, William Steig, Jacob Lawrence, Walter Meigs, Arthur Dove, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, and many others. Halpert later expanded her business to include American folk art, and certain nineteenth-century American painters, including Raphaelle Peale, William Michael Harnett, and John Frederick Peto, whom she considered to be precursors to American modernism.Although she arrived in the U.S. as a Russian Jewish immigrant of modest means, Halpert transformed the landscape of American art, and died a multimillionaire at the age of 70. Sotheby's credits her with putting American modern art auctions on the map with the posthumous sale of her personal collection for $3.6 million in 1973.Elyssa East
Elyssa East is an American nonfiction writer. She is the author of the creative nonfiction book Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town, which chronicles a murder that occurred in an area known as Dogtown, Massachusetts, just outside Gloucester, in 1984. As part of her research for the book, East interviewed the murderer, Peter Hodgkins, in prison. This nonfiction book won the 2010 L. L. Winship/P.E.N. New England Award and has been critically reviewed. According to East, the book was inspired in part by the paintings of Dogtown by Marsden Hartley.East grew up in Marietta, GA and attended Reed College, where she graduated with a degree in Art History in 1994. She went on to receive an MFA from Columbia University. She currently lives in New York. She has previously taught Creative Writing at Purchase College and Rhode Island School of Design, and is currently a part-time creative nonfiction instructor at New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study.Gouldsboro, Maine
Gouldsboro is a town and municipality in Hancock County, Maine, United States on the Schoodic Peninsula. The town was named for Robert Gould, a landholder in the town. The town has many historically separate fishing villages, summer colonies and communities, including Birch Harbor, Prospect Harbor, South Gouldsboro, West Gouldsboro, Summer Harbour, Wonsqueak Harbour, Bunker's Harbour, Chicken Mill, Jones' Pond, Westbay, and Corea. The population was 1,737 at the 2010 census.I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold
I Saw the Figure 5 in Gold, also known as The Figure 5 in Gold, is a 1928 painting by American artist Charles Demuth. It has been described as influenced by Futurism and Cubism. Painted as a homage to Demuth's friend William Carlos Williams, the painting references Williams' poem The Great Figure, which describes a fire engine speeding through the streets of New York on a rainy night. The painting's title is a phrase from the poem.March Avery
March Avery (born October 12, 1932, in New York) is an American painter.
The daughter of Milton and Sally Avery, March was trained by her father. She grew up around other famous artists such as Mark Rothko, Adolf Gottlieb, Barnett Newman, Byron Browne, and Marsden Hartley. She graduated from Barnard College and married Philip Cavanaugh, with whom she has a son named Sean. Her work has been shown at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut; and the Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, Virginia.Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art
Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art (MMOBA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to art made in and inspired by Bermuda.MMOBA was founded in 1987 by Tom Butterfield, MBE (born 1948) and has been located in the Bermuda Botanical Gardens in Paget Parish, Bermuda since 2008. The building was originally an arrowroot factory built in the mid 1800s that was renovated between 2004 and 2008 into a 16,000 square foot purpose-built museum. Part of the remaining original structure is home to the Arrowroot Gift Shop, which features art and crafts created by local artisans. Homer's Café which offers baked goods and lunch items, and also serves as a space to exhibit and sell local artists' work. The museum averages of 15,000 visitors per year from all over the world. MMOBA's official patron is HRH the Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM.MMOBA's core collection consists of paintings and drawings dating from the early 1800s to the present. The museum also holds objects relating to Bermuda's history and culture in the form of vernacular and fine-art photographs, sculpture, and historic documents and ephemera. Notable holdings include works by Winslow Homer, Georgia O'Keeffe, Albert Gleizes, Henry Moore, Marsden Hartley and Yousuf Karsh. Exhibits drawn from the permanent collection are on view in the main gallery and are rotated twice per year. Smaller exhibits in the Rick Fairies and Mezzanine Galleries, often featuring local artists or artists in residence, rotate more frequently.
The Artist in Residence program allows international artists to create and exhibit new works inspired by their time in Bermuda. Educational programs include classes and workshops for both children and adults, and a free family-oriented art workshop, Super Saturday, takes place on the last Saturday of every month.
The Charman Prize, which was established in 2008, is funded by British businessman and resident of Bermuda John Charman. It is a biannual exhibit and juried competition open to local artists.My Shanty, Lake George
My Shanty, Lake George is a 1922 painting by Georgia O'Keeffe. From 1918 to 1934, Georgia O'Keeffe spent part of the year at Alfred Stieglitz's family estate in Lake George. The depicted shanty was O'Keeffe's studio, which was painted in subdued tones in response to criticism from Stieglitz' circle—Arthur Dove, John Marin, Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and Paul Strand. O'Keeffe said of the painting: "The clean, clear colors were in my head, but one day as I looked at the brown burned wood of the Shanty I thought, "I can paint one of those dismal-colored paintings like the men. I think just for fun I will try—all low-toned and dreary with the tree beside the door." My Shanty was the first painting by O'Keeffe purchased by the Duncan Phillips.Nielsen Gallery
Nielsen Gallery is a commercial art gallery originally located on Newbury Street in the Back Bay area of Boston, United States. Founded in 1963 by Nina Nielsen and John Baker, the gallery won “Best Show in a Commercial Gallery in the United States,” prizes from the International Association of Art Critics, in 2005 and 2009.Originally a frame shop that also sold Japanese prints, they began to exhibit paintings in 1973. During the 46 years that the gallery was open in its original building, and also in its current online and by-appointment incarnation, it has showcased and supported contemporary American artists, especially those creating experimental and avant-garde work. The gallery's spirit was described by Artdeal Magazine as "the warmest, most intense, most powerful and inspirational art experience north of Manhattan.”Artists featured through the gallery have included Jackson Pollock, Joan Snyder, Dexter Lazenby, Nathalie Miebach, James Cambronne, Albert York, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Jake Berthot, John Walker, Bill Jensen, Anne Harris, Sedrick Huckaby, Gregory Amenoff, and John Lees.Portrait of a German Officer
Portrait of a German Officer is an early 20th century portrait by American modernist painter Marsden Hartley. Done in oil on canvas, the portrait depicts the abstract figure of an Imperial German officer as being composed entirely of military decorations and badges of rank. The painting is currently on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.Terra Foundation for American Art
The Terra Foundation for American Art is a privately operated nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of American art exhibitions, projects, academic research, and publications worldwide. Its goal is to promote a greater understanding and appreciation of the cultural and artistic heritage of the United States through the acquisition, study, and display of works of American art.
The Foundation was established by Daniel J. Terra in 1978 along with the Terra Museum of American Art, which opened in 1980. Terra was a businessman and art collector who used his own collection of influential American art to realize the goals of the Foundation. The Foundation is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
The Terra Foundation uses its endowment to award grants for exhibitions, fellowships, symposia, research, publications, and academic programs, with a special focus on international initiatives and local Chicago initiatives. It works closely with educators, scholars, curators, and museums.
Despite the closure of the Museum in 2004, the Foundation continues to actively collect paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and other objects representing achievement in American art from the late eighteenth century to 1945. The collection currently comprises hundreds of works by artists such as John Singleton Copley, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, Winslow Homer, Marsden Hartley, and Edward Hopper. The Foundation lends these works to institutions and exhibitions worldwide and maintains a comprehensive database of the collection. A selection of Terra Foundation paintings remains on long-term loan to the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Art Institute also houses the Foundation’s collection of works on paper. The Foundation has longstanding presence in France. In 1992, it opened the Musée d'Art Américain Giverny, a museum managed in partnership with the French government and the Musée d’Orsay which focuses on international impressionism. In 2009, the Terra Foundation opened its Paris Center to support its programs in Europe. The Paris Center houses the only research library in Europe dedicated exclusively to American art and transatlantic artistic exchange.University of Maine Museum of Art
University of Maine Museum of Art (UMMA) is an art museum in downtown Bangor, Maine. It is part of the University of Maine, which is located in nearby Orono, Maine. The University of Maine Art Collection was established in 1946, under the leadership of Vincent Hartgen. As the initial faculty member of the Department of Art and curator of the art collection, Hartgen’s goal was to provide the people of Maine with significant opportunities to experience and learn about the visual arts and their diverse histories and cultural meanings.
In the early 1980s, the University Art Collection became the University of Maine Museum of Art. Through the cooperative effort and vision of the City of Bangor and the University of Maine, the museum relocated in December 2002 to downtown Bangor where it has taken on a new role as a regional fine arts center. The facility was designed by the Boston firm, Ann Beha Architects, and now occupies the first floor of Norumbega Hall, a historic downtown building that formerly housed a department store. The Bangor facility, while allowing the museum to showcase a greater proportion of its collection, also enhances the arts scene of the region’s largest city.
The museum remains the only institution owned by the citizens of the State of Maine to house a permanent fine arts collection – one which has grown to a stature that makes it a nucleus in the state for historic and contemporary art. Consisting of more than 3500 original works of art, the collection is particularly strong in American mid-20th century works on paper. Contemporary highlights of the collection include works by David Hockney, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Edward Hopper, Pablo Picasso, and Edward Burtynsky. Additionally, the museum’s permanent collection includes work by artists associated with Maine such as Berenice Abbott, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, John Marin, Carl Sprinchorn, and Andrew Wyeth. In addition to making the University’s collection more accessible to the public, the downtown location enables the museum to expand its educational programs beyond the confines of the Orono campus. In 2011, the museum was said to have one of the finest gallery spaces in the state.The museum hosts an annual calendar of exhibitions featuring contemporary artists and ideas. In 2011, the museum hosted its first national show, Photo National 2011. The exhibit featured 76 photographs by 34 photographers, including 11 from Maine. Among the museum’s educational offerings are art camps for children lectures, special events, family programming, and educational classes and workshops for adults.University of Maine Museum of Art is part of the Maine Art Museum Trail, a circuit of eight art museums designed to highlight Maine's art history.In 2014, the museum renewed its lease to remain in the downtown location for an additional 17 years.Weisman Art Museum
The Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum is an art museum located at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The museum was founded in 1934 and is named in honor of art collector Frederick R. Weisman. Originally based in Northrop Auditorium, it moved into its current building (designed by Frank Gehry) in 1993. Widely known as a "modern art museum," the 25,000+ image collection has large collections of Marsden Hartley, Alfred Maurer, Charles Biederman, Native American Mimbres pottery, and traditional Korean furniture.