Hollis maine flirting
But his views of Katahdin take us past Frederic Church and – let’s admit it – every painter to follow his then-fresh-blazed path to push pigments in the shape of Maine’s highest mountain.
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art’s “Hall of the Mountain King” struck me as the keystone to “Marsden Hartley’s Maine.” It’s an ode to post-Impressionism.
But it’s not easy to excuse Hartley’s later Aryan enthusiasm in light of Nazi atrocities, and the many seemingly anti-Semitic comments in his writing.
Hartley’s anti-Semitism is a potentially huge subject, in its subtleties, as well as its import.
Its accomplishment lies not with the obvious aspects of ideal human physical attraction, but in the subtleties of the brush on canvas: the softness of the facial stubble and a deliriously sensuous stroke of blue on the model’s G-string-like athletic supporter.
“Marsden Hartley’s Maine” is loaded with the artist’s greatest coastal paintings, wave after stolidly spartan wave.
It’s evident in his early, tightly brushy rhythms, his unapologetically Cezannesque drawings (and how Hartley could draw!
), as well as his specific references, such as in the Smithsonian’s 1940-41 “Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach.” The connection to Cezanne is undeniable, yet the update could hardly be more Maine – or more Hartley.
He also gives us a wonderful 1938 portrait of Albert Pinkham Ryder as the apogee of a coastal Mainer – spare, humble and salty.
But it is his 1940 “Madawaska: Acadian light/heavy,” on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago, that explains his international appeal.
This canvas is one of the greatest homoerotic masterpieces ever painted.
Marsden Hartley’s personal mirror certainly didn’t glow like the sun.
Often, it was quite the opposite – it burned like the sun.