Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket 20 1/4 x 24 1/8in (Painted in 1928.)
Lot 44
Marsden Hartley
(1877-1943)
Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket 20 1/4 x 24 1/8in
Sold for US$ 115,000 inc. premium

American Art

20 Nov 2017, 10:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket
oil on canvas
20 1/4 x 24 1/8in
Painted in 1928.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Estate of the above.
    Paul Rosenberg & Co., New York.
    Mr. Walter Bareiss, Stamford, Connecticut.
    with Hirschl & Adler Galleries, New York.
    Private collection, Detroit, Michigan.
    Private collection, Florida.
    Sale, Sotheby's, New York, November 28, 2007, lot 34.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above.

    Exhibited
    New York, Rosenberg & Co., Paintings by Marsden Hartley, 1877-1943, January 9-28, 1950.
    New York, Babcock Galleries, A Moveable Feast: The Modern Still Life, 2008, no. 16.
    New York, Bruce Silverstein Gallery, Seven Americans: Charles Demuth, Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O'Keeffe, John Marin, Alfred Stieglitz, and Paul Strand, September 6-October 20, 2012, n.p., pl. 8, illustrated.
    Greenville, South Carolina, Greenville County Museum of Art, Arlie Kuntz, Marsden Hartley and American Modernism, August 6-September 21, 2014.
    New York, Driscoll Babcock Galleries, Art is Long, Life is Short: Marsden Hartley and Charles Kuntz in Aix-en-Provence, January 15-March 7, 2015.

    Literature
    M. Breuning, "The Hard Core of Hartley's Native Genius," Arts Magazine, vol. 24, 1950, p. 9.
    J. Driscoll and T. Ludington, Charles Philip Kuntz, Marsden Hartley: Arising and Converging in Aix, Greenville, South Carolina, 2014, pp. 86-87, 99, illustrated.

    The brilliant and cosmopolitan modernist painter Marsden Hartley is noted for his various painting series, including his so called German Officer paintings, his New Mexico Recollections, the Dogtown pictures, the Mt. Katahdin series, and others. But he was also a prolific and devoted painter of still life subjects. The present work, Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket, dating to 1928, demonstrates the clear bright color and sure draftsmanship that marked all of the best paintings Hartley accomplished in the mid to late 1920s. Between June of 1926 and November of 1929, Hartley lived on and off in and out of Aix-en-Provence (the home of the much admired Paul Cézanne) where he interacted regularly with an array of artists and collectors such as Earle Loran, Arlie Kuntz, Ambrose Webster and visitors including Patrick Henry Bruce, Albert Barnes and Leo Stein.

    Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket recalls some of the Berlin still life prints Hartley had done five years earlier. The painting also asserts the feelings Hartley experienced in the land of Cézanne: "the first spot on earth where I have felt right – in harmony – body, soul and mind – and if that can't be called a state of 'home' then nothing can." (as quoted in B. Weber, The Heart of the Matter: The Still Lifes of Marsden Hartely, New York, 2003, p. 54) Hartley would also write to Alfred Stieglitz that he spent his "mornings on still life and if you will believe it – they are in bright color...." (ibid, p. 54) Indeed, as this painting demonstrates, the color is bright, particularly the reds which warm up the composition and give it such an inviting appearance. Hartley's still life paintings of this period are among his most genial images. Painted at a time when he was happy and believed that he had found a place with the spirit of home, he went to work and produced a group of strong reductionist images that are sure measures of his state of mind and his affection for still life subjects.

    This was not always the case in Hartley's still life paintings. Often, they can seem out of sync, wooden or off balance. Sometimes the paint seems stiff and uncooperative, and the colors can get muddy. In Green and Purple Grapes in a Basket however, the radiant complimentary interlocking colors, the fruit firmly formed with dexterous brush strokes of generous viscous pigments, and the stable, centered composition all combine in a fluent, elegant example of Hartley's still life art at its sympathetic best.
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