The Vilcek Foundation Presents "MARSDEN HARTLEY: ADVENTURER IN THE ARTS"
New York, NY, September 24, 2019 — The Vilcek Foundation is pleased to announce its 2020 exhibition, Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts. On view from April 29 through September 9, 2020, the exhibition will bring together over 35 paintings and drawings, spanning 36 years of the American Modernist artist’s career. All 22 Hartley works in the Vilcek Collection will be on display, including Schiff, 1915, a landmark painting created during Hartley’s stay in Germany, which will be shown in the U.S. for the first time in Adventurer in the Arts. Exhibited alongside a selection of Hartley’s personal effects—mementos from his travels, snapshots, and keepsakes—the remarkable assemblage adds intimacy and depth, as well as a deeper understanding of his art, life, and wanderlust.
Marsden Hartley (1877–1943)—the self-proclaimed “painter from Maine”—spent much of his life traveling far from his New England roots. As a lifelong wanderer, the places he lived and the objects he collected took on enormous significance for him. Certain locations, from Paris to Berlin, New York to New Mexico, served as touchstones throughout Hartley’s life. He returned to some and never really left others; vivid recollections fill his writings, his reminiscences strengthened by the postcards and pressed flowers he kept. The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue trace Hartley’s lifelong search for inspiration and invention.
“The importance of travel on Marsden Hartley’s artistic development is the ideal subject for the second exhibition in our gallery, which examines one of the most prominent American Modernist artists in the collection using an unconventional lens to reveal new facets of his work,” said Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. “At the heart of the foundation’s mission is the idea that diverse perspectives catalyze innovation. The unique cultures and individuals that Hartley encountered during his trips profoundly impacted his growth as a person and artist; his ability to integrate these varied influences is precisely what makes his works so striking.”
To organize this unique exhibition, the Vilcek Foundation partnered with the Bates College Museum of Art, home to The Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection. “I’ve been privileged to spend a lot of time with the Hartleys in the Vilcek Collection and feel fortunate to partner with the Bates College Museum of Art on this project,” said Vilcek Foundation Curator Emily Schuchardt Navratil. “They enthusiastically shared their knowledge and opened their vaults. Poring over the objects Hartley collected during a lifetime of itinerant living and reading his writings from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University expanded my view of both the art and the artist. I’m thrilled to share these discoveries with the public.”
A catalogue of the exhibition will be available from Merrell Publishers, which will feature 200 illustrations of Hartley’s work and personal possessions, reproductions of previously unpublished materials, as well as essays that delve into Hartley’s life and art. In his preface, Dan Mills, Director of the Bates College Museum of Art, highlights the contributions the catalogue adds to Hartley scholarship: "This selection of artworks and personal objects, coupled with the insightful essays by Bates College Museum Curator William Low and Vilcek Foundation Curator Emily Schuchardt Navratil, further an understanding of this important aspect of Hartley’s life. “
MARSDEN HARTLEY: ADVENTURER IN THE ARTS will be viewable at the Vilcek Foundation through prescheduled guided tours throughout the run of the exhibition. Visitors can sign up on vilcek.org beginning on March 29. Following its display in New York, the exhibition will travel to the Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine, where it will be on display from October 2, 2020–March 2, 2021.