Hartley, Marsden

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Hartley, Marsden

Marsden Hartley, 1877–1943, American painter, b. Lewiston, Maine. He was educated in Cleveland, but early in his career (1899) went to New York City, where he studied under William Merritt Chase and at the National Academy of Design. In 1909 his landscapes were shown at the Stieglitz gallery. During the next 12 years he made three trips to Europe and one to the Southwest. His work showed the influence successively of the French and German moderns. In Berlin (1913–15), he painted strong works that combined cubist composition with expressionist handling, and he exhibited with Klee and Kandinsky in Munich. Although his early works were often almost entirely abstract, after 1920 Hartley returned to representation, often depicting nature with a forceful simplicity. Hartley is known for his still lifes and, most of all, for his paintings of the people and landscapes of Maine, the latter his first and last great subjects. He is represented in many leading American museums.

See his Somehow a Past (1996), ed. by S. E. Ryan; My Dear Stieglitz: Letters of Marsden Hartley and Alfred Stieglitz, 1912–1915 (2002), ed. by J. T. Voorhies; catalog by W. Mitchell (1970); biographies by T. Ludington (1992) and B. Robertson (1995); studies by G. R. Scott (1988), J. Hokin (1993), E. M. Kornhauser, ed. (2003), and D. M. Cassidy (2005).

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