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25

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK

Marsden Hartley
1877 - 1943
NEW MEXICO
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 581,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
25

PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED PRIVATE COLLECTION, NEW YORK

Marsden Hartley
1877 - 1943
NEW MEXICO
Estimate
500,000700,000
LOT SOLD. 581,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

American Art

|
New York

Marsden Hartley
1877 - 1943
NEW MEXICO
signed Marsden Hartley on the reverse
oil on canvas
16 by 24 inches
(40.6 by 61 cm)
Painted in 1919.
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

The artist (sold: Anderson Galleries, New York, May 17, 1921)
James N. Rosenberg, New York (acquired at the above sale)
By descent (sold: Christie's, New York, May 20, 2009, lot 11, illustrated)
Acquired by the present owner at the above sale

Exhibited

New York, Anderson Galleries, Seventy-five Pictures by James N. Rosenberg and 117 Pictures by Marsden Hartley, May 1921, possibly no. 103

Catalogue Note

The present work illustrates the Marsden Hartley's enchantment with the alluring setting of New Mexico, about which he commented, “any one of these beautiful arroyos and canyons is a living example of the splendor of the ages…and I am bewitched with their magnificence and their austerity” (Barbara Haskell, Marsden Hartley, New York, 1980, p. 58). In New Mexico, Hartley’s thick and expressive brushstrokes create an undulating landscape. Saturated shades of red, yellow, orange, green, black and traces of midnight blue accentuate the land’s vivid radiance, evoking what Hartley believed to be its rhythmical and almost mystical spirit—one that would continue to intrigue him for years after leaving the American Southwest.

Several factors initially enticed Hartley to New Mexico. Mabel Dodge Luhan, a wealthy patroness and socialite whom Hartley had known in Paris and later in New York, encouraged the artist to visit her in Taos. Because of his perpetual financial troubles, he was attracted the possibility of inexpensive living accommodations in the region. Furthermore, Hartley returned to New York from World War I in 1915 in search of a new direction and conviction in his art. He traveled around New England but found himself uninspired by the landscape. “[I am] sitting on a hill of dullness,” Hartley lamented to Alfred Stieglitz in May 1918, continuing “[I need] an open space for my eyes to regain their vision and my mind to feel itself free again” (Jeanne Hokin, Pinnacles & Pyramids, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1993, p. 38). New Mexico offered the promise of rekindling his creative spirit. Accepting Dodge's invitation, Hartley arrived in Taos in June 1918 and began to set out on foot nearly every day to experience firsthand the spare but vibrant landscape.

In New Mexico, Hartley records the dramatic landscape in a bold palette of vibrant colors that are energetically applied to the canvas. The work embodies Hartley’s initial impressions of the Southwest: “great isolated altar like forms…stand alone on a great mesa with immensities of blue around them and that strange Indian red earth making almost unearthly foregrounds” (Gail Scott, Marsden Hartley, New York, 1988, p. 69).

New Mexico is one of eleven oil paintings of the Southwest that Hartley consigned for sale at the Anderson Galleries in 1921. The auction featured 117 works by Hartley and 75 by James N. Rosenberg, the founder of the New Gallery in New York City. Hartley contributed works to the sale in order to finance a trip back to Europe, as he had been forced to leave prematurely six years before due to the impending outbreak of the First World War. The auction ultimately generated $4,000, enough to fund his ticket, and Hartley was able to return to Berlin shortly after.

American Art

|
New York