David Salle, the American painter, printmaker, and essayist reflects on the work of the painter Marsden Hartley, the subject of Marsden Hartley’s Maine at the Met Breuer in New York, March 15–June 18, 2017.
This exhibition explores Hartley’s complex, sometimes contradictory, and visually arresting relationship with his native state—from the lush Post-Impressionist inland landscapes with which he launched his career, to the later roughly rendered paintings of Maine’s rugged coastal terrain, its hardy inhabitants, and the magisterial Mount Katahdin. Marsden Hartley’s Maine illuminates Maine as a critical factor in understanding Hartley’s high place in American art history. Maine served as an essential slate upon which he pursued new ideas and theories. It was a lifelong source of inspiration intertwined with his personal history, cultural milieu, and desire to create a regional expression of American modernism.