Artist Trivia: Marsden Hartley

Marsden Hartley, Stormy Sea No. 2 (detail), 1936, oil on academy board, 12 1/8 x 16 inches, Museum Purchase made possible in part by gifts from Mr. Edwin L. Beckwith and Dr. Peter Sheldon, 1983.2
Marsden Hartley, Stormy Sea No. 2 (detail), 1936, oil on academy board, 12 1/8 x 16 inches, Museum Purchase made possible in part by gifts from Mr. Edwin L. Beckwith and Dr. Peter Sheldon, 1983.2

Who is this artist?

This painter was born near Lewiston, Maine to English parents in 1877. Their father worked at a textile mill and mother died when this artist was only five. The artist moved to Ohio in 1893 and studied at the Cleveland School of Art. A trustee at the school provided the financial support for this painter to study at William Merritt Chase’s School of Art in New York City for five years before transferring to the National Academy of Design in 1902. The summer of 1907 brought this painter to Eliot, Maine to attend a mystics retreat called Green Acre, which promoted the study of Eastern religion.  In 1909 Alfred Stieglitz arranged a solo show for the painter at his 291 Gallery in New York City.  During studies in Europe this painter met Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso at the home of Gertrude and Leo Stein, and was inspired by their circle of intellectuals and artists.

We celebrate this artist on January 4.

Who is Marsden Hartley?

Maine-born Marsden Hartley spent many periods of his life returning to Maine to paint. Travels through Europe took Hartley to Berlin in 1913, where he associated with Wassily Kandinsky and other modernists.  The onset of World War I brought Hartley back to America, for many years moving from place to place, before returning to France in 1926 to trace Cezanne’s footsteps in Provence. Eventually Hartley returned to Maine, focusing  on expressive,  and entirely original, paintings of Mount Katahdin and other natural areas.  He believed an artist could express emotions and spirituality through art, and through his depiction of mountains, hoped to convey the highest and most noble ideals of the human spirit.  By 1931, he was painting in his final and perhaps most recognized expressionism, bold in outline and featuring vividly contrasting colors.

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