Norton Museum of Art
West Palm Beach, Florida
Marsden Hartley: American Modern
December 11, 1999 - February 27, 2000
The Norton Museum of Art opens a new exhibition entitled Marsden Hartley: American Modern on Saturday, December 11, 1999. The exhibition is organized by Marsden Hartley scholar, Patricia McDonnel, and is circulated by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. (right: Marsden Hartley, Adelard the "Drowned," Master of the "Phantom," c. 1938-39, oil on board, 28 x 22 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
In 1909, when Marsden Hartley held his first one-person exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz's famous 291 Gallery in New York, Americans were scarcely prepared for the bold abstraction and the sumptuous color of his canvases. Ninety years later, Hartley has become one of this country's most revered modern masters. In his abstract yet familiar work, Marsden Hartley located a satisfying and comfortable humanity within modernism's often cool detachment. (left: Alfred Stieglitz, Portrait of Marsden Hartley, 1913-15, gelatin platinum print, 9 7/8 x 8 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
Born in Maine, trained at New York's National Academy of Design, Hartley became an important figure in the Stieglitz group, which included such seminal American artists as Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, Arthur G. Dove and others. But Hartley also traveled widely in Europe, where he came in contact with Wassily Kandinsky the Russian painter and theorist working in Munich, and one of the most influential figures in 20th century art. Kandinsky's treatise, Concerning the Spiritual in Art, clearly shaped Hartley's aesthetic vision and contributed to the almost religious anima he endowed even the simplest objects that appear in his paintings. (left: Marsden Hartley, Abstraction with Flowers, 1913, oil on canvas, 39 1/2 x 31 7/8 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; right: Marsden Hartley, Eight Bells Folly: Memorial to Hart Crane, 1933, oil on canvas, 30 5/8 x 39 3/8 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
The paintings and pastels in the exhibition are taken from
the single largest group of
Hartley's work in existence, the Hudson and Ione Walker Collection at the Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. Hartley's last dealer and important patron, Hudson Walker donated to the museum a rich ensemble that spans the artist's entire career. (left: Marsden Hartley, Portrait, c. 1914-15, oil on canvas, 32 1/4 x 21 1/2 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis; right: Marsden Hartley, Arroyo Hondo, Valdez, 1918, pastel on paper, 17 1/4 x 27 5/8 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
Hartley eventually found his way back to Maine, and the works he produced there speak to something fundamental to the human condition. His vigorous figure paintings, noble still-lifes, and undulating seascapes and landscapes are a testimony to the elegance of form examined at its essence. Spanning the whole of the artist's career, Marsden Hartley: American Modern features works by one of America's most admired and important painters. (right: Marsden Hartley, Landscape, Vence, 1925-26, oil on canvas, 25 1/2 x 31 7/8 inches, Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis)
Marsden Hartley: American Modern is underwritten in part by Wilmington Trust.
Please also see our articles for Marsden Hartley: American Modern at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art and Marsden Hartley: Selected Works at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery.
Read more about the Norton Museum of Art in Resource Library Magazine.
For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.
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