Marsden Hartley, the self-proclaimed “painter from Maine,” spent much of his life traveling far from his New England roots. As a lifelong wanderer, the places he lived and the objects he collected took on enormous significance for him. A new exhibition developed by the Vilcek Foundation, Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts, explores the influences that shaped the American Modernist’s unique style and inspired some of his most iconic works.
Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts will be open to students, faculty, and scholars at the Bates College Museum of Art from September 20 to November 19, 2021. The exhibition will open to the public at the Vilcek Foundation in September 2022.
Curators and Collaborators
Presented in collaboration with the Bates College Museum of Art, Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts was curated by Vilcek Foundation Curator Emily Schuchardt Navratil. The exhibition includes over 35 paintings and drawings by the American Modernist, exhibited alongside an assemblage of Hartley’s letters and personal effects from his travels. Notably, the exhibition includes Schiff (1915), a landmark painting created during the artist’s influential stay in Germany. Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts marks the first time that Schiff will be exhibited in the United States.
“I am thrilled to present this exhibition in Hartley’s birthplace, Lewiston, Maine, and feel incredibly fortunate to have partnered with the Bates College Museum of Art,” says Navratil. “Their unparalleled Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection illuminated so many facets of Hartley: not only as an artist, but as a wandering soul. It is my hope that audiences are similarly drawn by the combination of Hartley’s art in conversation with a lifetime of personal mementos and artifacts.”
Inspiration and Purpose
The purpose of the exhibition is to highlight the Vilcek Foundation’s mission goal of fostering appreciation for the arts, and the importance of cultural exchange in the development of artistic movements. “At the heart of our mission is the idea that diverse perspectives catalyze innovation,” says Vilcek Foundation President Rick Kinsel. “The people and places that Hartley encountered through his travels had a profound impact on his development as an artist. His ability to integrate these varied influences is precisely what makes his works so striking.”
The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection
Assembled by Jan and Marica Vilcek, with the guidance of Kinsel and Navratil, the Vilcek Collection includes one of the largest private collections of works by Marsden Hartley. Of the 35 Hartley works included in the exhibition, 22 are part of the Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection. As cofounders of the Vilcek Foundation, the Vilceks work closely on the development of exhibitions and programs that allow them to share their collection with the public, and to support the foundation’s mission and vision. The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection is a promised gift to the Vilcek Foundation.
Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts is accompanied by a beautifully printed and bound catalogue featuring essays by Bates College Museum of Art Curator William Low, and by Kinsel and Navratil. Published by Merrell, Marsden Hartley: Adventurer in the Arts includes more than 200 full-color reproductions of works of art by Hartley, as well as photographs and reproductions of Hartley’s letters, mementos, and personal effects from The Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection at the Bates College Museum of Art.