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Marsden Hartley: American Modern at The Boise Art Museum
Marsden Hartley’s 1913 painting The Warriors.

BOISE, ID.-The Boise Art Museum opened the exhibit Marsden Hartley: American Modern through June 22. Marsden Hartley: American Modern examines this renowned artist through the largest collection of his work, the Hudson and Ione Walker Bequest at the University of Minnesota’s Frederick R. Weisman Art Museum. As Hartley’s last dealer and important patron, Hudson Walker amassed a rich collection that spans the artist’s career. Hartley who lived from 1877 – 1943, was an American avant-garde artist who was involved in pivotal art events of the 20th century. First as an artist shown by Alfred Stieglitz’s at the groundbreaking 291 gallery in 1909, and then at the famed Armory show of 1913. Later in the 1920s, he painted in Taos and Santa Fe depicting the American southwest at a time when the great luminaries of southwest painting were drawn to New Mexico. Hartley today is recognized as a twentieth-century American master.

Hartley was one of the finest exponents of pure Expressionist painting. He was influenced during his early career by Impressionism, by the stark unnerving reality of Albert Pinkham Ryder, as well as by the pre-Cubist integrity of Cezanne. To fully understand Hartley, one must understand his penchant for assimilation and distillation of artistic impulse. Hartley observed, made note of, absorbed images and gestures. He stored these in the cabinet of his mind and sifted through them time and again. His obsession with symbolism, with mystical meaning and attachment, enhanced this dependence on observation for its own sake, and supported his life-long posture as an outsider and his increasing detachment from human relationships – except those realized through the veil of his art.

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