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Marsden Hartley 1877 - 1943
IVY AND FRUITS
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 250,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
29
Marsden Hartley 1877 - 1943
IVY AND FRUITS
Estimate
200,000300,000
LOT SOLD. 250,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Marsden Hartley 1877 - 1943
IVY AND FRUITS
signed Marsden Hartley (lower right); also inscribed Ivy + Fruits on the stretcher
oil on canvas
19 3/4 by 24 inches
(50.2 by 70 cm)
Painted circa 1926. 
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Provenance

Private Collection, 1928 (acquired from the artist)
By descent to the present owner

Exhibited

New York, Berry-Hill Galleries, The Heart of the Matter: The Still Lifes of Marsden Hartley, May-June 2003, pp. 52, 160, illustrated pl. 21, p. 101

Catalogue Note

William V. Griffin, a New York banker, who met Marsden Hartley through mutual friends established a syndicate in 1924 “with his business associates James Imbrie, James Vincent Forrestal, and Judge George Carden, which provided Hartley with $2,000 a year for four years in exchange for ten paintings a year.  The group received at least ten still lifes from Hartley, including Still-Life, Beve Poco, Ivy and Fruits, Fruit and Tumbler, and Anemones in White Vase.  Each member contributed $500 a year and drew lots for the paintings.  The money was paid quarterly, and the ten paintings were due at the end of each fiscal year.  Griffin had originally offered the funds without any strings attached, but Hartley felt morally uncomfortable with this arrangement” (Bruce Weber, The Hart of the Matter: The Still Lifes of Marsden Hartley, New York, 2003, pp. 51-52).  Hartley was unable to meet the first deadline in 1925 and instead delivered 20 paintings in July 1926.  He again missed the 1927 deadline, delivering the final works in 1928 and 1929. Ivy and Fruits, painted circa 1926, was acquired as part of this syndicate and has been in the collection of the same family since 1928. 

Funding from the syndicate liberated the perpetually destitute Hartley, who wrote to his dealer, Alfred Stieglitz, “for the first time in all our [relationship I have] been enabled to do something for myself… I am in another stage of life now Stieglitz” (quoted in Ibid., p. 52).  The artist rented a house in Vence, France from late summer of 1925 until the fall of 1926 before moving to Aix-en-Provence, where he painted Ivy and Fruits and lived for three years punctuated by travel abroad.  He quickly settled into the communities and entered a relatively tranquil phase despite bouts of ill health. Of the solace he found in Aix, the artist wrote that it was “the first spot on earth where I have felt right–in harmony–body, soul and mind–and if that can’t be called a state of ‘home’ then nothing can” (quoted in Ibid., p. 54).

Hartley’s sound mental state influenced a brightening of palette in the landscapes and still lifes that he painted in Aix. During the period, he was painting from life imbuing these works with a sense of immediacy and vibrancy.  Ivy and Fruits possesses virile brushwork, a bold palette and striking, deliberately primitive composition that recalls both American Folk Art compositions and the work of Cézanne, an artist that Hartley greatly admired. In the present work, Hartley flattens the pictorial space and omits extraneous detail to focus on color and design, creating a fresh and thoroughly modern composition.

American Art

|
New York