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Marsden Hartley

 (1877 - 1943)
Marsden Hartley was active/lived in Maine.  Marsden Hartley is known for modernist sea-land imagery, mountain, still-life and portrait painting.

Marsden Hartley

    HAHRT-lee    click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Born in Lewiston, Maine, Marsden Hartley became one of the most famous early modernist artists of twentieth-century American art, known for landscapes, still lifes, and some portraits.  His painting showed a focus on monumental shapes, especially clouds and landscape forms, and his unique style has been described by critic Sadakichi Hartmann as "an extreme and up-to-date impressionism" and "emerging modernism that evolved through Impressionism". (Gerdts 291)

He had a lonely, insecure childhood because his mother died when he was eight years old, and he was raised by an older sister when his father left to remarry.  He studied art in Cleveland, Ohio and then in 1898 went to the Chase School in New York and at the National Academy of Design.  He continued to spend much time in Maine painting landscapes, and by 1909 had his first exhibition, which was held at New York Gallery 291, run by Alfred Stieglitz.  There he became involved with a social circle of modernists that included Georgia O'Keeffe, Arthur Dove, and John Marin.

In 1912, he first went to Europe where he had further exposure to modernism, and from 1913 to 1915 he was in Germany.  In Paris, he experimented with Cezanne-like still lifes and was befriended by Gertrude Stein.  In Germany, he was influenced by Expressionism, and especially by military pageantry.  It is said that his greatest contribution to early 20th-century American modernism has been his brilliant synthetic military icons known as German Officer Portraits.  He developed a close homosexual relationship with a handsome young Prussian officer who was killed in World War I.

Being encouraged by Stieglitz to explore American subjects, Hartley turned to American Indian objects and designs.  In 1918, he eagerly accepted an invitation of Mabel Dodge and her husband, artist Maurice Sterne, to visit them in Taos, New Mexico.  By then, a Colony of Artists of eastern painters had formed, but Hartley remained aloof from them because he thought them provincial in their rejection of modernism.  However, he loved the surroundings and did landscapes and Indian paintings, and this New Mexico work became the subject of a 1998 traveling exhibition titled "Marsden Hartley: American Modern," organized by the Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota.

In 1919, he returned to New York and completed a set of oils on New Mexico subjects, which had influenced his style to be somewhat more realistic.  During the next decade, he spent much time in Europe, New England, and Mexico and was joined in Mexico by photographer Paul Strand, painter Andrew Dasburg, and poet Hart Crane. In 1936 he painted for several years in the fishing community of Blue Rocks, Nova Scotia, and he also continued to do many landscapes of his native Maine where he spent his last years.

Matthew Baigell, Dictionary of American Art
Michael David Zellman, 300 Years of American Art
William Gerdts, American Impressionism

Biography from Hollis Taggart Galleries

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
A leading practitioner of American modernism, Marsden Hartley created some of the most uniquely powerful modernist expressions by any American artist.  Hartley (who was baptized Edmund Hartley) was born on January 4, l877, in Lewiston, Maine, to working class English immigrant parents. His bleak childhood was lightened by the family's relocation to Cleveland, Ohio, a move that gave the young man the opportunity to attend the Cleveland School of Art.  In 1896, Hartley took private art lessons with John Semon, a follower of the French Barbizon School.  In the summer of 1898, he enrolled in an out-of-doors painting class conducted by Cullen Yates, a local, Paris-trained Impressionist.  At the end of the summer session, Yates held an exhibition of his students' work. One of Hartley's works caught the attention of a trustee of the Cleveland School of Art, who helped secure a scholarship to the school for the young artist. Other members of the school community also encouraged Hartley: his drawing teacher, Nina Waldeck, instilled in him a foundation for spiritual and mystical qualities and Anne Walworth, a school trustee, provided him with a five-year stipend to study in New York.
In the fall of 1899, Hartley moved to Manhattan to further his studies in art.  At first, he enrolled in William Merritt Chase's School of Art. After one year of study with Chase, however, he transferred to the National Academy of Design, where he remained for four years. In 1902, the National Academy awarded Hartley the Suydam Silver Medal for still-life drawing.  That summer, Hartley went to a retreat in Center Lovell, Maine, where he painted mountain imagery in an academic and realist style.
In 1906, in an attempt to reestablish family ties, Hartley adopted his stepmother's maiden name, Marsden and dropped his original first name two years later.  He began painting landscapes with a muted palette inspired by the American Impressionist John Henry Twachtman and the Barbizon painter George Inness.  Around this time, Hartley wrote to the publisher Thomas Mosler and asked for a job. He was invited by Mosler to spend the summer of 1907 at Green Acre, a mystic/intellectual retreat in Eliot, Maine.  Green Acre attracted artists, theologians, yogis, swamis, and Eastern mystics.  It was here that Hartley discovered a deep appreciation for Eastern religion.  Also during this time, art patron Mrs. Ole Bull, a visitor to the colony, gave Hartley his first exhibition at her home in 1907.
In 1908, Hartley moved again, first to Boston and then to Maine in the autumn of that year. He occupied an abandoned farmhouse near North Lovell and painted what he considered to be his first mature works.  In North Lovell, he developed a Neo-Impressionist style, using intense color and agitated brushstrokes similar to that found in the art of Maurice Prendergast. He also began using cloud and mountain motifs-imagery that would remain central to his body of work throughout his life.  Hartley also applied the stitch stroke of Swiss painter Giovanni Segantini in his Maine seascapes.  He showed these paintings to Prendergast who wrote to William Glackens in New York, inducing Glackens to show these works to his fellow artists of The Eight.
In 1909, Hartley was introduced to Alfred Stieglitz, a meeting that would change his life forever and place him firmly within the progressive art circles of the time.  Stieglitz immediately arranged a one-man exhibition for Hartley at his gallery "291."  A year later, in 1910, Stieglitz included work by Hartley in Younger American Painters, another exhibition organized at 291.  Inspired by Max Weber, who championed Paul Cézanne, as well as by a visit to the Havemeyer Collection in 1911, Hartley painted a series of still lifes that combined an emphasis on structural form with decorative elements and the brilliant colors he found appealing in the art of Matisse.
Beginning in 1912, Stieglitz financed several European excursions for the artist.  During the first, 1912, sojourn, Hartley visited Gertrude and Leo Steins' famous salon, which provided him with a unique opportunity to meet important vanguard artists and writers and become intimately familiar with new works by Matisse, Cézanne, and Picasso.  This exposure to advanced European art at the Steins' home had a decisive impact on Hartley and inspired him to create paintings in a high-key, Fauve palette with flattened, heavily outlined forms in a cubist mode.
In May of 1913, Hartley left Paris for Germany and embarked on what is generally referred to in the scholarship as his first Berlin period. During this critical time in his artistic development, Hartley became friendly with Wassily Kandinsky and Franz Marc, two influential artists who led Hartley to realize fully the importance of embracing spiritual values in painting. Hartley was given a solo show at the Galerie Goltz in 1913 and also exhibited Five Intuitive Abstractions at the prestigious Herbstsalon the same year.  His works had the distinction of being displayed alongside those by Kandinsky and Henri Rousseau.

Hartley returned to America in November 1913.
In 1914, he had his third one-man show at Stieglitz's 291, and in the spring he departed for Germany for his second extended trip. During his second Berlin period, he worked on a group of symbolic still lifes and painted a series of German military works-known as the German Officer portraits. Hartley used symbolic objects in these paintings to represent psychic and physical characteristics of the subjects he portrayed.  Finding that the conditions in Germany had grown increasingly intolerable during the war, Hartley left Berlin, the city closest to his heart, in December of 1915. 
Hartley's transition back to New York was a difficult one, particularly because anti-German sentiment was at a peak there, and Hartley had a very strong allegiance to all things German. In 1916, Hartley executed a series of paintings called Movements and contributed to the Forum Exhibition, which was hosted by the Anderson Gallery.  He spent the summer in Provincetown where he painted abstract and semi-abstract, Cubist-oriented compositions of angular, flat planes with light colors.  During this time, Hartley was also actively engaged in writing poetry for the journals Others and Poetry.  In the winter of 1916-1917, he traveled to Bermuda where Charles Demuth joined him for several months. It was at this time that Hartley shifted from an interest in avant-garde issues towards working in a more representational mode.  Late in October 1918, Hartley moved to Santa Fe and then to California where he became involved with the literary community there.  In 1919, he returned to New York.
Hartley led a peripatetic life, and in keeping with his searching, restless spirit, he traveled again to Europe in 1921.  He began in Paris before venturing on to his beloved city of Berlin, which he then described as being "under cubist influence."  Hartley, who remained in Berlin for two years, had secured the financial means to travel abroad by using the proceeds of a 1921 auction of his work, one organized by Stieglitz and Mitchell Kennerly of the Anderson Gallery.  In August 1925, Hartley moved on to the south of France, where he painted for next three or four years. 
Despite feeling like an outsider in his native land, Hartley once again set up residence in the United States in 1930.  He exhibited his work to positive critical reception and enjoyed several sales from an exhibition that Stieglitz provided for him in December of that year.  In 1930, he worked for a time in Sugar Hill, New Hampshire where he executed paintings that document his fascination with the mountainous landscape of that region.  In 1931, he painted in Dogtown Common, an area outside of Gloucester, Massachusetts.  His Dogtown works, as they are commonly called, are distinguished by their emphasis on sculptural qualities and stark monumentality. In Dogtown, Hartley immersed himself in mystical and metaphysical literature and painted with a new optimism and energy. He attempted to clarify and simplify his art and his life goals. 
A Guggenheim travel grant, which Hartley received in 1931, provided him with one year's support to work outside of the country; Hartley chose to go to Mexico.  During his Mexican interlude, Hartley nurtured his fascination with pre-Columbian culture and painted works inspired by the country's native past and infused with a new, spiritually symbolic significance.  Hartley's year in Mexico proved to be a vitally important chapter in his career; for it was there that he attained a true connection with his mystical and spiritual roots.  This resulted in some of his most powerful paintings.  Through his Mexican works, Hartley reached an important bridge between his Maine and Berlin periods.
Hartley moved frequently between 1933 and 1937, from Bavaria to Dogtown and from Bermuda to Nova Scotia. In 1936, Stieglitz gave Hartley a one-person exhibition and one year later Hartley had his final solo show at Stieglitz's gallery (by then renamed An American Place).  In 1937, Hudson Walker became Hartley's new dealer and by 1938, Walker was already hosting several one-man shows of Hartley's work at his New York gallery.  That same year, Hartley summered in Maine and started a series of portraits of Nova Scotia people.  These were primarily images of men painted with an emphasis on frontality and directness.  Hartley's devotion to figure painting proved to be a critical success.
In 1939, Hartley lived and worked in Portland, West Brookville, and Bangor, Maine.  In October of 1939, he climbed Mount Katahdin and afterwards began a series of paintings based on this subject. He continued work on these paintings for the next three years.  In 1940, Hartley executed a series of figure paintings that were based on sunbathers and lobstermen, as well as a group of religious subjects and Maine landscapes.  Hartley's work was taken up in 1941 by the Macbeth Gallery in New York.  Around this time, he began to devote much of his attention to his poems and essays and also focused on painting still lifes with monochromatic or seascape backgrounds.  In 1942, the dealer Paul Rosenberg began to represent Hartley.
Hartley's last years were plagued by hearing loss, failing eyesight, and poor health in general.  He was quite ill and isolated the last twelve years of his life and died from terminal heart failure in Ellsworth, Maine, on September 2, 1943.
Hartley's works are represented in major public collections around the world including: The Museum of Modern Art; The Whitney Museum of American Art; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; The National Museum of American Art; The Fogg Art Museum; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Columbus Museum of Art; and The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Biography from The Owings Gallery
Marsden Hartley was long an enigmatic figure in the history of American art. Not that he was unrecognized. Quite the contrary, his importance was acknowledged early in his career as a member of the Stieglitz circle. By the time he arrived in New Mexico in 1918, his place in the pantheon of homegrown modernists was assured. However, his career progressed erratically, recognition was intermittent and even modest financial success waited until the very end of his life.

Described as "by nature a brooding romantic" (Udall), he was subject to periods of deep depression. He was a private, often lonely, individual who spent much of his career in a self-imposed exile in Europe because he often felt misunderstood, under-appreciated and rejected by his American audience. It is ironic that Hartley's most successful images of the American West were completed in Berlin and Paris. He identified most as an American when farthest from his native land, for in America he felt like an outcast.

Throughout his life he searched for an environment that would best satisfy his complex psychological and aesthetic needs. Torn between his desire for human contact and sympathy and his need for privacy and solitary introspection, he alternately sought crowds and isolation. Hartley's conflicting needs made his life an unending paradox, and his art mirrored these contradictory forces. Throughout his career Hartley would affirm and then reject the dominance of the intuitive over the intellectual in art. His painting was alternately determined by passion and control. Hartley's strongest work reconciled the conflicting forces of internal and external reality. His finest canvases express a harmony of reason and emotion, intellect and imagination.

Hartley's sense of rejection and loneliness began early in life. Born Edmund Hartley in 1877, Hartley was eight years old when his mother died. Four years later his father married Martha Marsden and young Edmund was sent to live with a married sister. In order to contribute to the household income, he left school at fifteen to work in a local shoe factory. At sixteen he moved to Cleveland and took a job as office boy and messenger in a marble quarry. Three years later, in 1896, he began painting lessons, and in 1898 was awarded a scholarship to study at the Cleveland School of Art. After only one semester Hartley was offered a stipend of four hundred and fifty dollars a year for study in New York City, where he spent one year at the New York School of Art and four years at the National Academy of Design.

During these early student years, Hartley formed his basic philosophy of life - an unwavering devotion to art and beauty and a belief in the divinity of nature and the potential emotional catharsis through contact with nature.

For Hartley 1909 proved to be a critical year, for that year he was introduced to Alfred Stieglitz. Stieglitz was so impressed with the young painter's work that in May he mounted Hartley's first solo exhibition. The dark, mystical works of Albert Pinkham Ryder were the primary influence on the painter at that time, and the exhibition at 291 featured a series of imaginative landscapes, today known as his "dark paintings." In these mountain landscapes, inspired by his summers in Maine, Hartley expressed his inner desolation and despair in strong, rhythmic images of mountains and animated clouds, which anticipate the bold images of his later work. Although the exhibition at 291 was a commercial failure, it served to establish Hartley as a contemporary painter. His introduction to Stieglitz was a turning point in his art, and his work thereafter clearly reveals the influence of the European modernists.

At 291, he was introduced to the works of Matisse, Picasso and Cézanne. As a result his palette brightened to include the brilliant Fauve colors, he experimented with abstraction and by the summer of 1911 Hartley had completed his first Cubist paintings, determined to devote his full attention to formal problems of color and abstraction of form.In the spring of 1912, Stieglitz arranged for Hartley to spend a year in Paris. There, Hartley soon became a regular guest at the Saturday evening gatherings at the home of Gertrude and Leo Stein. The salon conducted by the Steins attracted artists, collectors, and students, as well as interested intellectuals from all over the world.

Hartley was particularly attracted to a German group that included sculptor Arnold Ronnebeck. German modern art appealed to him because, in contrast to the formal intellectual discipline of French theory, it encouraged an intuitive, emotional response.In 1913, Hartley visited Berlin where he produced canvases of high-key Expressionist color and Cubist structure. He returned to Berlin the following year, during which time his lover, Karl von Freyburg was killed in action. In response, Hartley painted a German military series that introduced symbolism to a Synthetic Cubist structure.

The 1914-1915 Military series (sometimes referred to as the War Motif series) won praise from both the public and the critics in Europe. In this series, the artist achieved the dynamic synthesis of the intellectual and the intuitive in painting, which would prove to be the key to Hartley's greatest successes as an artist. These Berlin paintings are among Hartley's most powerful paintings, and many critics consider among his best. The artist greatly enjoyed his successes in Europe, however, the war made it impossible for Hartley to remain in Berlin, and in December 1915 he returned to New York, where he exhibited the Berlin paintings at 291.

Upon his return to America, he was disappointed by the lukewarm response of Americans, who interpreted the War Motif paintings as evidence of pro-German sentiment. In 1918 Mabel Dodge, whom Hartley had met in Paris at the Steins, invited the artist to visit her in Taos, already a flourishing art colony. The timing could not have been better for Hartley because he had recently lost a sense of direction in his art and was finding it difficult to support himself in New York. Living costs were inexpensive in the New Mexican village, and the surrounding desert, mountains, forests, and canyons offered a variety of landscape subjects. In addition, Taos appealed to Hartley as a remote land of peace and harmony.

Soon after Hartley's arrival in Taos he began to make pastel drawings of the neighboring mountains, arroyos, and desert vistas. The pastels ranged in color from the blues and greens of summer to the yellows and golds of autumn and the brown of winter. He also began to write a series of articles emphasizing the importance of painting the American land with a new realism, based on the principles of modern art but directed toward American subject. "It will be a sturdier kind of realism, a something that shall approach the solidity of landscape itself and for the American painter the reality of his own America as Landscape…

"Hartley also began a series of still life paintings based on New Mexican santos, ceremonial images of saints made by the Spanish-American people of New Mexico. In 1918 santos were already recognized as an important form of American folk art. Hartley had the opportunity to see several excellent examples in the Santa Fe museum and in several private collections, and he based his images of santos on them. These paintings are neither naturalistic representations nor abstractions of the traditional sacred images. Instead, he used the santos as the focus of compositions which served as a personal tribute to fundamental human faith and the expression of spirituality by primitive artistic creation. The flat designs and two-dimensional figures of the santos paintings suggest traditional folk art.

In November 1919, Hartley returned to New York, and soon after he began his first series of recollections inspired by the landforms of New Mexico. Developed from his earlier pastel sketches and oils, this series is painted in muted tones and features rhythmic, curvilinear mountain, rock and cloud forms. The dark contour lines enhance the rhythmic flow of the compositions. Hartley spent the summer of 1920 in Gloucester then returned to New York. He felt spiritually empty and depressed for he believed that his work remained unrecognized. Feeling rejected by his own country, Hartley returned to Europe in 1921. In Berlin he enjoyed a warm welcome and once again returned to the security of his circle of friends. He felt contented and able to work with facility. Hartley's thoughts again returned to America and his experiences in New Mexico.

In 1922 he completed a series of New Mexico Recollections, his strongest paintings of the American West to date. He painted naturalistic representations of the desert and distant mountains, and explored the relationship between the man-made adobe structures of New Mexico and the sinuous earth and tree forms silhouetted against the eternal backdrop of mountains and clouds.

In late 1923 Hartley returned to the United States, but he was back in Europe by the summer of 1924, living in Paris. Once again he returned to the theme of his New Mexico Recollections. The 1924 paintings, unlike the recollections of a barren wilderness painted earlier, include images of contemporary New Mexican life - a house, a cemetery.

After his passion to paint New Mexico was exhausted, he turned to recollections of Maine. Beginning in 1938, Hartley spent most of his time in Maine, where he produced some of his most beautiful and expressive works - paintings of Mount Katahdin in rich tones of red and purple, and views of the Maine coast, which show the continuing influence of his friend Albert Ryder.

For the remainder of his career, until his death in 1943, Hartley continued to struggle with what was for him the fundamental dilemma of his art. Was painting a humanistic expression or a cerebral discipline, the intellectual solution to formal aesthetics problems? His New Mexico paintings illuminate his struggle to reconcile this ever-present conflict. Several times during his career he found he was able to achieve a synthesis of emotion and reason, the spiritual and the intellectual in his art - e.g. the Berlin series of 1914-15, the New Mexico Recollections, and the Maine series - and these proved to be his greatest artistic achievements.

Although commercial success in America did not come to Hartley until after his death, he did exhibit widely during his lifetime. Hartley had many one-artist exhibitions in Stieglitz's galleries, and participated in many group exhibitions with other American modernists, including all the Whitney Museum Biennials that were held in his lifetime (1932-43). Major posthumous retrospectives were organized by the University Gallery at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, in 1952 and the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1980. Marsden Hartley made a unique contribution to American art, and the recognition and acclaim that he did not receive during his lifetime certainly exists today.

Biography from Mark Borghi Fine Art Inc
A painter, poet, critic, and artistic rebel, Marsden Hartley witnessed momentous changes during the course of his lifetime. From his birth in 1877 to his death in 1943, two world wars were fought, and American society shifted from a rural to an urban focus as millions of people left farms and small towns for factory jobs and other attractions of the city. Americans benefited from a gradual lessening of restrictive Victorian social conventions and watched as inventors and industry-made exciting technological breakthroughs.

Such changes profoundly affected Hartley, and the many shifts he made in his art reveal his persistent effort to stay abreast of change, to come to terms with the dynamics of his world, and to forge his own contribution to it. Hartley took part in the vibrant and vital changes afoot in the world. He joined a generation of radicals who shook off the weight of convention and tradition, and although academically trained, he valued innovation over tradition and worked to develop an original artistic voice.

As a vanguard artist he also stood beyond social and sexual norms as a gay man. Living long before the gay-rights movement of our day, he kept that side of himself hidden, expressing his homosexuality in his art rarely and only through highly guarded symbolism. This inability to express his authentic inner self was extremely difficult for Hartley, especially when his role as a modernist called upon him to do so.

Critics argue that the insecurity of a closeted life helped fuel Hartley's need to recreate himself and his art over the course of his career. Marsden Hartley was born Edmund Hartley on January 4, 1877 in Lewiston, Maine. His mother died when he was eight, leaving him under the care of an older sister. In 1893, at the age of 16, Hartley joined his father and stepmother of four years, Martha (Marsden) Hartley, in Cleveland, Ohio, where he began formal art training three years later in 1906, at the age of 29. Hartley adopted his stepmother's maiden surname, Marsden, as his first name.

His talent won him a five-year scholarship for study at New York's National Academy of Design, which he began in 1899 at the age of 22. Nearly 10 years later, Hartley's post-impressionist Maine mountain scenes garnered the attention of Alfred Stieglitz, who ran 291, the most influential gallery for vanguard art in the United States in the early 1900s. Hartley's first solo exhibition at 291 in 1909, led to his long-standing affiliation with the Stieglitz circle of artists, writers, and cultural critics.

Painters Arthur G. Dove, John Marin, and Georgia O'Keeffe, and photographer Paul Strand were among his colleagues, and through the exhibitions Stieglitz organized, Hartley caught his first glimpse of modern European art - works by Paul Cezanne, Henri Matisse, and August Rodin. Influenced by these European masters, Hartley's early work reflects their styles. For example, the explosion of color apparent in Hartley's paintings from 1909-1911 was likely inspired by Matisse's use of intense colors. During this initial phase of his career, Hartley was also absorbed in the writings of American transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Walt Whitman - men who placed supreme importance upon the individual's ability to experience direct and powerful emotional experiences in nature. Hartley expressed this fundamental 19th-century world-view in the most radical visual expression of his day.

Attempting to find a style that could convey the moods he felt in the Maine mountains, Hartley turned to the vigorous brushwork of impressionism to show his personal experience with the landscape. Unwavering reliance on the self and a keen subjective sensitivity were cornerstones of transcendentalism as well as Hartley's artistic enterprise during this early stage of his career.

Like other modern artists, Hartley challenged himself to invent a wholly original style that voiced his subjective feelings and insights and communicated directly to viewers' hearts and souls, rather than to their minds. While some 20th-century artists found a style they adhered to faithfully, others, such as Hartley and Pablo Picasso, shifted radically and often to forge a series of inventive ways to assert themselves in the face of great changes in the larger world of politics and culture.

While New York and Stieglitz acted as a base of support and friendship for Hartley, he constantly shifted from place to place, living abroad several times and in varying locales across the country during the course of his life. He lived abroad in Paris in 1912, painting a series of still-lifes and developing a close friendship with the author Gertrude Stein. Together, they explored the ideas of American philosopher William James whose insistence on the primacy of the individual intensely interested the author and the artist.

Inspired by James' ideas and his discussions with Stein, Hartley relocated to Berlin in 1913 and quickly made his way into the most progressive art circles while embracing abstraction. At the time, Berlin was a surging metropolis with a military presence that Hartley loved. His work from this time is characterized by brilliant colors, numbers, military insignia, cavalry parades, and mystic motifs and critics argue that it's the finest of his career. With World War I, however, came the need for Hartley to redefine his art as a longing for security, order, and simple virtues took hold. Soon after the outbreak of the war, Hartley lost a dear friend, and possibly lover, Karl von Freyburg, who died in battle. He began a series of paintings that paid tribute to Freyburg and other war dead while also expressing, in a very guarded way, Hartley's life in Berlin's vibrant homosexual culture.

Leaving Germany in 1915 only when his cash cables from New York could no longer reach him, Hartley exhibited his recent series at Stieglitz's gallery in New York, but they were weakly received and Hartley entered a deep depression.Reacting to the new political and cultural realities created by the war, Hartley, along with other modernists, retreated from "the new" as embodied in extreme artistic experiments.

Between 1917 and 1918, he found a new direction in regionalism, which sought to express wholly American characteristics rising from plainspoken common people and the rural commonplace. From a 1918 retreat to Taos, New Mexico through the next two decades in Maine, Hartley abandoned intuition as a source for art-making and pursued this more rational analysis of his subjects, producing a number of landscapes and still lifes. By the late 1930s, however, Hartley had come full circle in his approach to his work. Late in his career, he immersed himself in the landscape and the people of Maine, such as simple fisherfolk, and realized that a representation of objective fact and an emotional response to his subject matter could co-exist in his art.

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About  Marsden Hartley

Born:  1877 - Lewiston, Maine
Died:   1943 - Ellsworth, Maine
Known for:  modernist sea-land imagery, mountain, still-life and portrait painting