Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
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New Mexico Landscape, 1918-19

Born in 1877 in Maine to “the last in a long line of sturdy, simple people,” Marsden Hartley would cut a brilliant, if solitary, path across the frontier of modern art [Hartley’s words, quoted in Kornhauser, op. cit., p. 13].  Although he made important contributions to vanguard painting on both sides of the Atlantic, and had social and working connections with the leading artists and poets of the day, an inward restlessness kept him from settling anywhere with permanence.  Much of his oeuvre can be understood as a response to that solitude, from the celebrated German Officer series to his later Maine landscapes.  Brilliant in color and sturdy in composition, Hartley’s mature paintings channeled currents from Albert Pinkham Ryder to the Blaue Reiter, embodying both the virility of American modernism and the sophistication of its European counterpart.