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.
Iman Issa receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for exploring, through works of various media, difficult philosophical questions, such as the individual’s relationship to places, figures, and events that are collectively familiar, or the difference between experience and recognition.
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.
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