Memphis Brooks Museum of Art

Memphis, Tennessee

(901) 722-3500


Marsden Hartley: American Modern


Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) is one of the most important artists from the American early modern period. He was part of the influential group surrounding Alfred Stieglitz in the early decades of this century. Arthur Dove, John Marin, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Paul Strand were among his colleagues and, with Hartley, core artists of the Stieglitz circle.

This exhibition offers a new and important retrospective of Hartley, tracing his evolution in both art and philosophy. The artwork, text panels, and accompanying catalog will explain Hartley's shifting artistic practice and beliefs in the context of changing cultural and political realities.

Exhibition curator Patricia McDonnell noted, "The modern period virtually overflows with artists who shifted from style to style. Perhaps Pablo Picasso is the most famous for this rapid change of imagery and manner of painting--clowns, bulls, Madonnas, and cubist guitars are all icons of his repertoire. His friend, American painter Marsden Hartley, whom Picasso met through Gertrude Stein, also evolved quickly and, like a true modernist, ran through the full gamut of options then open to avant-garde painters. Hartley is equally well known for his ground-breaking abstract works and for his lyrical landscapes. This exhibition presents each of Hartley's many stylistic episodes and attempts to come to grips with why such radical changes occurred over the course of his productive career. TIME magazine art critic Robert Hughes said in 1993,"Marsden Hartley is tremendously important." Our exhibition places that importance in the context of the times, and doing so, it offers a new reading to Hartley's art."

Works in the exhibition are taken from the single largest collection of Hartley's work, the Hudson and Ione Walker Collection at the Weisman Art Museum. Hartley's last dealer and important patron, Hudson Walker gave the museum a rich collection that spans the artist's career. The exhibition--which includes 37 paintings, 1? drawings and prints, and two portrait sculptures of Hartley--runs from August 22 through November 21, 1999.

An 88 page, fully-illustrated catalog accompanies the exhibition. The exhibition tours the United States for two years: New Orleans, Louisiana; Memphis, Tennessee; Norman, Oklahoma; San Antonio, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; Southampton, New York; University Park, Pennsylvania; Malibu, California; and West Palm Beach, Florida.

From top to bottom: Landscape, Vence, 1925-26, oil on canvas, collection Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, bequest of Hudson Walker from the Hudson and Ione Walker Collection; Still Life, 1912, oil on canvas, collection Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, University of Minnesota, bequest of Hudson Walker from the Hudson and Ione Walker Collection

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