In this Dogtown landscape, the colors of fall are deep, the reds mixing with browns and the greens have gone dark, reading as nearly black. These dark green trees punctuate the flow of boulders across the canvas. The edges of the rocks are sharp, their outlines a thick black, their contours roughly shaded. The high horizon line and lack of a visible path through the boulders make the viewer feel trapped by the towering buildup of rocks and forest.
Gloucester, Massachusetts, has a long history as an artists’ colony and was particularly attractive to the American Modernists. Hartley was drawn to a part of Gloucester called Dogtown, an English settlement abandoned in the mid-1700s. Its rugged landscape is filled with large boulders. Hartley first painted the area in 1931, producing a group of drawings and paintings including Blueberry Highway, Dogtown, 1931, in the High Museum of Art.
Mrs. Charles P. [Adelaide] Kuntz, Bronxville, NY, before 1943;
[Babcock Galleries, New York, NY, 1975];
Ms. Nardin Gallent;
[Christie’s New York, May 24, 2007, lot 148];
Private Collection, New York;
[Babcock Galleries, New York, NY];
New York. Alexandre Gallery. Selected Works. March 11-April 14, 2004.
New York. The Park Avenue Armory. The International Fine Art Fair. May 1-5, 2009.
Tulsa. Philbrook Museum of Art. From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism from the Vilcek Foundation Collection (February 8-May 3, 2015); Phoenix. Phoenix Art Museum (June 5-September 6, 2015); Santa Fe. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum (September 25, 2015-January 10, 2016).
Lewiston, ME. Bates College Museum of Art. Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts (September 20-November 19, 2021); New York. The Vilcek Foundation (March 10-June 16, 2023).
Elizabeth McCausland Papers, Marsden Hartley Catalogue Raisonné: Oils [circa 1944-1964]. Box 15, Folder 17, Frames 6-8, ill. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Alexandre Gallery advertisement, Art in America 91, no. 11 (November 2003), ill. p. 54.
Scott, Gail. Essay in Christie’s New York, Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. May 24, 2007, lot 148, pp. 210-211, ill.
Smith, David S. “Fewer Exhibitors Yields More Sales at the International Fine Art Fair,” Antiques and The Arts Online, May 26, 2009, installation view.
Agee, William C. and Lewis Kachur. Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection. London: Merrell, 2013, pp. 28-29, 74-75, 266, ill. p. 75.
O’Hern, John. “Modern Manor,” American Fine Art Magazine, September/October 2013, ill. p. 59.
Watts Jr., James D. “Modern masterworks: Philbrook exhibit brings American masters to Tulsa,” Tulsa World, February 12, 2015, ill.