In this painting, Hartley appropriated elements from Native American culture—imagery that refers to a bird, a stylized cornstalk, a teepee. Set against a flat black background, Hartley painted these elements in a bold palette dominated by red, yellow, and green.
As the title suggests, Berlin Series No. 1 is part of a series of four paintings, of similar dimensions and subject matter, done around the same time, including An abstract arrangement of American Indian Symbols, c. 1914–15, in the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University. Created only a year after Indian Pottery, 1912 (2006.05.01), this painting is radically different.
Alfred Stieglitz, New York, NY;
Georgia O’Keeffe, Abiquiu, NM;
Private Collection, New Mexico;
[Graham Gallery, New York];
Carolyn and Roger Horchow, Dallas, TX, acquired 1993;
[Sotheby’s New York, May 19, 2010, lot 9];
[Jonathan Boos, New York and Michigan];
Albuquerque, New Mexico. University of New Mexico, University Art Museum, on extended loan from Georgia O’Keeffe, c. 1974-1987.
Berlin. Neue Nationalgalerie. Marsden Hartley: The German Paintings, 1913-1915 (April 3-June 29, 2014); Los Angeles. Los Angeles County Museum of Art (August 3-November 30, 2014).
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).
George, Douglas. “Three Way Stations in the Career of Marsden Hartley: Berlin, Ogunquit, Aix-en-Provence.” University of New Mexico Museum of Art Bulletin, no. 8 (1974): pp. 18,20, ill. p. 18.
Carolyn and Roger Horchow Collection. Sotheby’s New York. American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. May 19, 2010, lot 9, pp. 20-25, ill. on cover and p. 21.
Agee, William C. and Lewis Kachur. Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection. London: Merrell, 2013, pp. 56-57, 266, ill. p. 57.
Pochoda, Elizabeth. “Freedom and the abstract truth: Jan and Marica Vilcek’s collection of American modernist art,” The Magazine Antiques (May/June 2013), ill. pp. 94, 98, fig. 5.
O’Hern, John. “Modern Manor,” American Fine Art Magazine, September/October 2013, ill. p. 64.