Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) Starfish 16 x 20in (Painted circa 1938.)

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Lot 13
Marsden Hartley
(1877-1943)
Starfish 16 x 20in

Sold for US$ 118,750 inc. premium

American Art

23 May 2018, 14:00 EDT

New York

Marsden Hartley (1877-1943)
Starfish
oil on canvas
16 x 20in
Painted circa 1938.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    The artist.
    Estate of the above.
    Babcock Galleries, New York, 1958.
    Private collection, acquired from the above, circa 1959.
    Sale, Parke Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, February 20, 1963, lot 40.
    Babcock Galleries, New York, acquired from the above.
    Private collection, New York, acquired from the above, circa 1963.
    Acquired by the present owner from the above, 2008.

    Exhibited
    New York, Babcock Galleries, Marsden Hartley: 1877-1943, December 8, 1958-January 3, 1959, no. 17.
    New York, Babcock Galleries, Hartley 1877-1943: Exhibition of Paintings, January 4-30, 1960, no. 21.
    New York, The American Federation of Arts, Late Works of Marsden Hartley, October 1966-October 1967, no. 20.
    Southampton, New York, Tripoli Gallery, Water, August 15-September 9, 2013.

    This work will be included in The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project: The Complete Paintings and Works on Paper by Gail R. Scott.

    Marsden Hartley was among the finest of America's first generation of modernist artists, a cosmopolitan internationally known painter who created some of the most compelling American works of the early 20th century. Yet it was only in the last decade of his life, when Hartley returned to his native ground in the state of Maine, that his paintings take on a sense of poignant insight and intimate spiritual resolution not often present in his earlier work.

    Gail Scott has noted that in Hartley's late works "what is left unsaid, the profoundly empty space behind the image, conveys as much as the actual object. Suspended in this Zen-like emptiness are small mundane objects... depicted as deceptively simple—even, at times, ungainly—directness." In this body of work, sea gulls, ducks, mackerel, cod, seahorses, shells and other marine life fill his compositions–images rife with associations of isolation and longing, the passage of time and introspection about his own life. Starfish manifests a visual elegance and technical painterly fluency encountered only in Hartley at his best. Starfish is notable for its fluent brushwork, simplicity of design and its powerfully direct poetic introspection.
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