In advance of the opening of a major new exhibition of works by Lewiston-born artist Marsden Hartley at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 15, Donna Cassidy, a co-curator of the exhibit, will present a program called “Marsden Hartley’s Maine at Home and Abroad” on Tuesday, March 7 at 6:30 p.m. in Lewiston Public Library’s Callahan Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
The exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art will include Hartley’s oil painting “Shady Brook,” which is currently on loan from Lewiston Public Library, where it has been on view over the years since the artist donated it in 1907.
Hartley began and ended his artistic career in Maine. In the first decade of the 20th century, he created dazzling landscapes of the western mountains that brought him into the avant-garde circle of Alfred Stieglitz; decades later, he concluded his career by producing roughly rendered paintings of Maine’s landscape, coast, and fisher folk that garnered him fame as “the painter from Maine.” In the intervening years, when he made only brief visits to the state, spending most of his time in Europe and other parts of North America, Maine was always with him. As he wrote in his autobiography: “I had remembered my own country – never a time that I haven’t remembered – never a time that it has been ever more to me than when I have been out of it.”
In her discussion, Cassidy, a Professor of Art History and American & New England Studies at the University of Southern Maine, will explore the different ways that Hartley’s Maine was an integral part of his cosmopolitanism, from the influence of international modernism on his early paintings like LPL’s “Shady Brook,” to the exhibition of his Maine paysages in Paris in 1925.
The program will especially focus on how Hartley saw profound connections between Provence, Germany, Nova Scotia and Maine – for example, how his early Maine landscapes shaped his depictions of southern France, and how his Bavarian mountain paintings echoed in his later Katahdin works. What we see in Hartley’s art, despite its local subjects, is a sense of place that was formed by the travel routes that defined his career. Hartley rendered Maine, not provincially, but as a place of the world.
Those who would like to take a first-hand look at “Shady Brook” will be able to do so again when the painting returns to its permanent home at the library later this year. Following its close at the Met on June 18, the exhibition will travel to the Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville, where it will be on view from July 8 through November 12. The painting will then return to Lewiston in November. In the meantime, 5 x 7-inch notecards of the painting are available at the library’s Lending Services Desk for a donation of $2 each or $7 for a packet of six cards.
For more information on the March 7 event, contact the library’s Adult and Teen Services Desk at 513-3135 or LPLReference@Gmail.com.