The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project:
The Complete Paintings and Works on Paper

Marsden Hartley, Hall of the Mountain King, ca. 1908-09, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Marsden Hartley, Hall of the Mountain King, ca. 1908-09, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 inches, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
Marsden Hartley, Three Shells, ca. 1941-43, oil on board, 22 x 28 inches
Marsden Hartley, Three Shells, ca. 1941-43, oil on board, 22 x 28 inches, The Jan T. and Marica Vilcek Collection. Promised gift to The Vilcek Foundation
Marsden Hartley, End of Storm, Vinalhaven, Maine, ca. 1938, oil on masonite, 22 x 26 inches
Marsden Hartley, End of Storm, Vinalhaven, Maine, ca. 1938, oil on masonite, 22 x 26 inches, Barbara B. Millhouse, on loan to Reynolda House Museum of American Art

Marsden Hartley has long held a place in the canon of 20th century American Modernism and continues to garner increasing international attention through the work of museums, galleries, critics, and scholars. Through them, there is presently a large body of monographs, biographies, exhibitions, catalogues, and articles on many aspects of the artist’s work and life, both as a painter and writer. Nevertheless, of the noted American artists of his generation, Hartley is perhaps the only one of his stature without a publication of his complete body of work. Accordingly, independent art historian and long-time Hartley scholar, Gail R. Scott and the Bates College Museum of Art are entering into a collaboration to inaugurate The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project: The Complete Paintings and Works on Paper (MHLP). This comprehensive, annotated online catalogue of all known paintings and works on paper created by Hartley during his lifetime will establish a legacy befitting Marsden Hartley’s place in American art.

Born in Lewiston in 1877 and coming full circle back to the state in the last six years of his life, Hartley’s creative genius found root and then eventually came to full maturity in Maine. The State was formative to his emergence onto the American and international art stages, as well as the location of the culminating achievement of his distinguished career. Given this arc, it is both fitting and important that The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project should be founded and sustained in Maine and, specifically, in Lewiston and with the Bates College Museum of Art, which has a long and rich association with the artist. With an initial gift in 1955 from Hartley’s niece, Norma Berger, as well as subsequent acquisitions and gifts of art works, artifacts, manuscripts, and important memorabilia, the Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection (MHMC) now comprises the largest collection of his drawings and a growing body of paintings and invaluable documents relating to his life and career.

Marsden Hartley, [Study for The Lost Felice], ca. 1938, black and brown ink with graphite under drawing on paper, 10 3/8 x 7 7/8 inches
Marsden Hartley, [Study for The Lost Felice], ca. 1938, black and brown ink with graphite under drawing on paper, 10 3/8 x 7 7/8 inches, Bates College Museum of Art, Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection, Gift of Norma Berger
Marsden Hartley, The Lost Felice, ca. 1939-40, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 30 3/16 inches
Marsden Hartley, The Lost Felice, ca. 1939-40, oil on canvas, 40 1/8 x 30 3/16 inches, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, The Mr. and Mrs. William Preston Harrison Collection

Through the years, the Bates Museum of Art has organized numerous exhibitions of art and other objects from its Hartley collections, hosted symposia, lectures, and other public events, and become an invaluable resource for Hartley scholars. With the addition of The Marsden Hartley Legacy Project, the Bates College Museum of Art will be the preeminent institution for comprehensive scholarship on the artist, and Marsden Hartley will come into his own—fully and finally and in his native place.

With generous funding from the Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, the museum and Scott inaugurated the MHLP, entering into an agreement with PanOpticon as the platform for the working database and eventual online presentation. Work is now well underway by Project Director and lead scholar, Gail R. Scott to incorporate her research data into this new platform. We anticipate a phased launch online, beginning with basic information and images of the paintings, followed by the works on paper and, at a later phase, provenances, exhibition histories, literature, and commentary.

If you own a work by Marsden Hartley and have not been contacted by the MHLP, we continue to review submissions. Please visit the Artwork Submissions link below for more details. Submissions should be sent to hartleylegacy@bates.edu.
Additional Information and Resources