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Marsden Hartley: American Modern

Sep 14, 1998 – Dec 5, 1998
A retrospective of one of America’s most important early 20th century painters – a modernist who brought avant-garde European ideas to the U. S. at a time when the country was not yet a center of world culture. Through conventional subject matter – landscapes, portraits and still lifes – he used highly expressive color and dramatically simplified forms to reflect the intensity of his inner personal experience. Hartley lived an international life and was an integral part of the intellectual culture of his time. “Marsden Hartley: American Modern,” featuring 53 paintings and drawings from the Frederick R. Weisman Museum at the University of Minnesota, was billed as the most important show of 20th century artwork to appear in New Orleans since the New Orleans Museum of Art’s 1995 exhibition of Claude Monet’s late works. Included amongst the works on loan for the retrospective were Hartley’s portrait of Gertrude Stein, a landscape painted from the studio of Paul Cezanne, plein air pastels from Hartley’s time in New Mexico, and a photograph of the artist taken by Alfred Stieglitz. Originally from Maine, Marsden Hartley would become a critical artist in the American modernist movement; his work spans from landscapes to portraits to fully abstracted work. Hartley was notably inspired by 19th century New England poets and aimed to represent a close relationship with his subjects, particularly nature; later in life, he became interested in American folk art, which would become a driving force in his work. With works spanning from 1908 through the rest of the artist’s career, “American Modern” represents all the facets of Hartley’s artistic output, offering an exploration into the developing art of early 20th century America. Curated by Sally Main and Patricia McDonnell.

With accompanying Sandra Garrard Memorial Lecture, "What Art Does" by David Hickey, Critic, art historian, author and Professor of Art Criticism & Theory, Univ. of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Also included: Hartley and the Cultural Force of Modernism Symposium, an interdisciplinary symposium examining the literary, artistic, musical and philosophical ideas and political events that form the context of Hartley’s art. Lectures included:
"Marsden Hartley in Context" by Michael Plante, Professor of Art History, Tulane University
"Meaning of Being: Radical Portraits by Gertrude Stein and Marsden Hartley" by Patricia McDonnell, Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum, Univ. of Minn.
"Gertrude Stein’s Portraits and Prayers “In this waya mouth is a mouth” " by Rebecca Mark, Professor of English, Tulane University
"Jazz Representations and Early 20th Century American Culture" by Donna Cassidy, University of Southern Maine
"Heretics and Dancing Daughters: Martha Graham in the Jazz Age" by Amy Koritz, Professor of English, Tulane Univ.
"Revisiting Hartley" by Jonathan Weinberg, Yale University

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