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John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, V: Marsden Hartley’s Maine

Randall Griffey, associate curator, department of modern and contemporary art, Metropolitan Museum of Art. American painter Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) entered the modernist canon as a result of the abstract paintings he created in Germany in 1914-1915. But the paintings he created of his home state of Maine late in his career beginning in 1937 brought him his greatest acclaim during his lifetime. In fact, Hartley began his career in 1909 at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 gallery as a painter of Maine. Previewing a major exhibition to open in March 2017 at the Met Breuer and in July 2017 at the Colby College Museum of Art, Randall Griffey illuminates the painter’s dynamic, rich, and occasionally contradictory artistic engagement with his native Maine. Maine was to Hartley a springboard to imagination and creative inspiration, a locus of memory and longing, a refuge, and a means of communion with previous artists who painted there, especially Winslow Homer. Speaking at the inaugural John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art, held on October 22, 2016, at the National Gallery of Art, Griffey showcases Hartley’s impressive range, from early post-impressionist interpretations of seasonal change in the region to late, folk-inspired depictions of Mount Katahdin, the state’s great geological landmark. The John Wilmerding Symposium on American Art is made possible by a generous grant from The Walton Family Foundation.