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Exhibition Organized with The Metropolitan Museum of Art Makes Maine Debut


Marsden Hartley’s Maine
, on view at the Colby College Museum of Art starting July 8, offers a unique perspective on an artist whose complex, sometimes contradictory, relationship with his native state shaped his contributions to American modernism. The exhibition, the result of an unprecedented collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art, includes approximately 90 paintings and drawings. Its opening at Colby follows a successful and highly acclaimed three-month run at The Met Breuer in New York.

Marsden Hartley’s Maine illuminates 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, Katahdin.

Mt. Katahdin (Maine), Autumn #2, 1939–40. Oil on canvas, 30 1⁄4 x 40 1⁄4 in. (76.8 x 102.2 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Edith and Milton Lowenthal Collection, Bequest of Edith Abrahamson Lowenthal, 1991

The exhibit drew crowds and critical acclaim during its time at The Met Breuer. Reviewers were especially impressed with the selection of works offering a distinctive perspective on Hartley.The exhibit “provide(s) a rich and often arresting view of Hartley’s evolution as an artist and of his relationship to his native state,” according to a Boston Globe review by Mark Feeney.

“…The influence of Maine in the imagination of Hartley can be witnessed firsthand at the brilliantly curated exhibition,” declared Huffington Post reviewer Mark Thompson.

Marsden Hartley’s Maine, which runs through Nov. 12, 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.

Loans to the exhibition have been secured from major public and private collections nationally and from one international source.

Born in Lewiston, Maine, in 1877, Hartley became known for his frequent travel, 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 traces 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 Aug. 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.

A series of related programs is planned in conjunction with the exhibition, including noontime art talks, a 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, noon-4 p.m., 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.

During the exhibition, groups of senior citizens are invited to make appointments for Tour and Tea workshops, which 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.

Marsden Hartley’s Maine is organized by the Colby College Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

It 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.

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 Oct. 7, 2017. For more information, visit bates.edu/museum.

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.-5 p.m., and Sunday, noon-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.

Founded in 1959, the Colby College Museum of Art comprises five wings, more than 9,000 works of art, and more than 38,000 square feet of exhibition space. Major works by American masters, including John Singleton Copley, Gilbert Stuart, Albert Bierstadt, Winslow Homer, Mary Cassatt, and William Merritt Chase, form the core of the historical collection, along with significant holdings of American folk art. The modern movement is represented by important works by artists such as John Marin, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, George Bellows, and Rockwell Kent. The museum also maintains a significant collection of contemporary American art, including works by Alex Katz (with more than 900 works represented), Chuck Close, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, Dan Flavin, Kara Walker, Elizabeth Murray, Richard Serra, and Terry Winters. Other principal areas of the collection include Greek and Roman antiquities, European prints and drawings, and early Chinese art. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.