Lewiston native Marsden Hartley is one of America’s most renowned painters. While influenced by artists such as Cézanne, Picasso and Matisse, his true inspiration was the special place where he was born and grew up – and to which he returned permanently later in life to become, in his own words, “the painter of Maine.”
Born in Lewiston in 1877, Hartley displayed a rare artistic talent and a powerful intellectual and spiritual curiosity. While attending the National Academy of Design in New York, he was drawn to the transcendental works of Thoreau and Emerson, and the self-realized poetry of Walt Whitman.
A merging of the artistic and the spiritual would infuse his work – from Paris and Berlin to New Mexico and California – and of course, to Maine where the rugged coast, islands and pristine Maine woods were among his favorite subjects.
This past spring, a new show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Met Breuer galleries in New York City celebrated the artist’s work. Marsden Hartley’s Maine features approximately 90 paintings and drawings that illuminate the painter’s extraordinarily expressive range, from Post-Impressionist interpretations of seasonal change in inland Maine in the early 1900s to folk-inspired depictions of the state’s hearty inhabitants, majestic coastline, and great geological icon, Mount Katahdin.
Following its run at The Met Breuer, Marsden Hartley’s Maine will be on exhibit at the Colby College Museum of Art from July 8 to November 12, 2017.
The exhibition, organized by the Colby College Museum of Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, highlights the American artist’s lifelong artistic engagement with his home state of Maine and is inspiring visitors to experience Maine this summer and retrace Hartley’s footsteps for themselves. At visitmaine.com you can find a map tracing the locations throughout the state that inspired Hartley, along with suggested itineraries that include sightseeing, lodging and dining recommendations. The itineraries include The Shady Brook Trip Idea, from Lewiston to Lovell and Kezar Lake; The North Maine Woods Trip Idea, a road trip from Bangor to Mount Katahdin; and an afternoon at the Colby College Museum of Art.
Both seasoned Hartley fans and new discoverers of this great American artist and Maine original can celebrate his work and life at multiple Maine museums, as well. Among them:
- Colby College Museum of Art in Waterville
- University of Maine Museum of Art in Bangor
- Portland Museum of Art
- Ogunquit Museum of American Art
For an artful and transcendental day trip, consider exploring any of the fascinating places he painted:
- Penobscot Bay
- Vinalhaven and Hurricane Island
- Georgetown and Fox Island
- The Schoodic Peninsula
- The Maine woods
- Camden Hills from Baker’s Island
- Lovell and Kezar Lake
- Robinhood Cove
- And, of course, the place that called his soul like no other – Mount Katahdin.
If you’re inspired by Marsden Hartley’s work, why not visit the places that inspired him? Here is a sample of the trip ideas you can find at visitmaine.com:
The Peninsula that Inspired Marsden Hartley Trip Idea
Georgetown and Robinhood Cove (Maine’s MidCoast Region)
“It is never difficult to see images – when the principle of the image is embedded in the soul.” Marsden Hartley, 1932
Take your time exploring the magnificent peninsula of Georgetown. This was a place that inspired many of Hartley’s famous paintings.
Relax and take in the beauty of one of Maine’s finest coastal destinations and first state-owned saltwater beach, Reid State Park.
Eat a late lunch at Five Islands Lobster, located in a working harbor, or the Osprey Restaurant, in Robinhood Marina. Both offer breathtaking views.
Walk along the trails of Maine Audubon’s Josephine Newman Preserve; this hidden gem is bounded on two sides by salt marsh.
Pick one of many quintessential Maine lodging options, including Grey Havens Inn and the lovely Coveside B&B.
Thanks to its lakes, coastline and mountains, Maine may well be the perfect destination for a family vacation.
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