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Marsden Hartley’s Maine, on view at the Colby College Museum of Art July 8 through November 12, will showcase the American artist’s lifelong artistic engagement with his home state. The exhibition, the result of an unprecedented collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, offers a unique perspective on a celebrated painter. Organized by the Colby College Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the exhibition will appear at The Met Breuer March 15 through June 18.
Approximately 90 paintings and drawings will illuminate Hartley’s extraordinarily expressive range—from post-impressionist interpretations of seasonal change in inland Maine in the early 1900s to folk-inspired depictions of the state’s hearty inhabitants, majestic coastline, and great geological icon, Mount Katahdin. Loans to the exhibition have been secured from major public and private collections nationally and from one international source.
The exhibition is made possible by the Henry Luce Foundation, Bank of America, Betsy Cohen and Edward Cohen/Aretê Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Everett P. and Florence H. Turner Exhibition Fund.
A grant from the Wyeth Foundation for American Art has supported the Colby College Museum of Art’s scholarly contributions to the exhibition catalogue published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The catalogue is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Charles Butt, and Laura and Robert W. Stone.
Born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1877, Hartley became known for his peripatetic nature, especially his time spent in Paris and Berlin, where he participated in the European avant-garde. Over the course of his career, however, he returned to his home state repeatedly, painted Maine subjects while living abroad, and proclaimed himself the “painter from Maine” in the final chapter of his life. With the artist’s place of origin as its focus, the exhibition will trace the powerful threads of continuity that run through Hartley’s work and underlie many of his greatest contributions to American modernism. To Hartley, Maine was a springboard to imaginative and creative inspiration, a locus of memory and longing, a refuge, and a place for communion with other artists. Hartley died in Ellsworth, Maine, in 1943.
Accompanying Marsden Hartley’s Maine at the Colby Museum will be Visionary Painting, an exhibition curated by the acclaimed painter Alex Katz. On view from June 1 through August 27, 2017, this show will feature approximately two dozen works in compelling dialogue with Hartley. Katz, a summer resident of Maine, has referred to Hartley as a “visionary painter” who exerted a strong influence on his own career. This companion exhibition brings together an array of artists to further illuminate Hartley’s international legacy in postwar and contemporary art.
Marsden Hartley’s Maine is co-curated by Lunder Curator of American Art at the Colby College Museum of Art Elizabeth Finch, Professor of American and New England Studies and Art History at the University of Southern Maine Donna M. Cassidy, and curator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art Randall Griffey.
A series of related programs is planned in conjunction with the exhibition, including a community day, noontime art talks, a tour-and-tea program for seniors, weekly curator-led tours, field-trip experiences for schoolchildren, a story-reading program for preschoolers, film screenings, and a symposium on the subject of New England regionalism.
Celebrating the opening of the exhibition and reflecting the museum’s deep commitment to the local community, the museum will host a Community Day Sunday, July 9, featuring exhibition tours, live music, traditional Maine food and beverages, games, and art making. In July and August, 45 local elementary school students enrolled in the museum’s Lively Spaces arts integration camp will choreograph and perform dances and write poetry related to the works on view.
On five weekends during the exhibition, seniors are invited to participate in Tour and Tea, a program that will include a visit to the exhibition, art making, and afternoon tea featuring local Maine foods. During the fall, the museum’s school visit and Art + Storytelling programs for children will also feature the exhibition. Thirty newly arrived first-year students will have a First Class—an intensive, seminar-style meeting—related to the exhibition, and a range of Colby courses across the curriculum will make use of the exhibition during the fall semester.
Admission to the Colby College Museum of Art and all museum programs is free and open to the public. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday,10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. It also is open Thursdays until 9 p.m. during the academic year.
The exhibition is featured on the museum’s website, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter via the hashtag #MarsdenHartley.
A generous lender to Marsden Hartley’s Maine, the Bates College Museum of Art, will concurrently present At Home and Abroad: Works from the Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection from June 9 through October 7, 2017. For more information, visit bates.edu/museum.