Marsden Hartley | New Mexico 1918 - 1920
An American Discovering America
March 6 through April 19, 2003
This exhibition is presented in association with Mark Borghi Fine Art, Inc. and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with text by Gail R. Scott, whose work on Hartley includes a monograph published by Abbeville Press, among other books.
The galleries are pleased to present the first exhibition to explore the paintings and pastels created by Marsden Hartley in New Mexico during a seventeen month period beginning in June 1918—Hartley’s only trip to the American West.
Painted in direct response to a vast and austere mountainous landscape, these works are characterized by bold, muscular marks, brilliant raw color and a deep emotional and spiritual connection with both his new surroundings and the idea of an "American" landscape. Often overlooked in Hartley scholarship (including the current Wadsworth Atheneum retrospective) and overshadowed by the later New Mexico Recollections (painted in Europe), these New Mexico pictures mark Hartley’s first extended involvement with the American landscape after his assimilation of European modernism and abstraction. Hartley’s engagement in the landscape and exploration of naturalistic styles during this period establish the foundation of his later Dogtown and Maine masterpieces. Scott says of this period in the exhibition catalogue:
New Mexico (was) a place where he was forced by the sheer immensity and strangeness of the landscape to come to terms with his past and future. Through intellect, creative energy, and determination, he forged a new union between his solid grounding in European modernism (1912-15) and his rediscovery of America as landscape.
The exhibition will include major loans from public and private collections including the Ogunquit Museum of American Art (Maine), Whitney Museum of American Art, Weisman Museum of Art (Ione and Hudson Walker Collection) and Curtis Galleries (Minneapolis).
The accompanying catalogue includes a facsimile of the 1921 Anderson Galleries auction brochure organized by Alfred Stieglitz (from which the New Mexico works were sold) and original texts written by Hartley while in New Mexico. In the 1918 article America as Landscape Hartley writes "I am an American discovering America. I like the position and I like the results."