Property of The Newark Museum of Art, Sold to Support Museum Collections
1877 - 1943
signed MARSDEN HARTLEY and dated 1929 (on the reverse)
oil on board
15 ¼ by 18 ½ inches
(38.7 by 47 cm)
This work is included in The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project: Complete Paintings and Works on Paper, Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine, Gail R. Scott, Project Director and Lead Scholar.
There is frame abrasion along the extreme edges with some associated losses and there are pindots of surface accretion in the lower left corner. Under UV: There is no apparent inpainting.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
We are grateful to Gail R. Scott for preparing the following essay: Shell is one of twelve still life paintings of conch, bullmouth, and other tropical shells that Hartley painted over the winter of 1928-28 when he was living in Paris. He decorated his Paris apartment with these tropical shells in a place of honor on the mantel piece. Coming off of nearly a year of doing very little painting, the shells became "stable models to get my almost paralyzed hand & eye back into health"—as he told his friend Rebecca Strand in a January 6, 1919 letter. The shells float in front of soft, amorphous backgrounds of vibrant, modulated color that accentuate the convoluted shapes and swirls of their hard surfaces.