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The Virginia Museum of Art’s Retail Therapy

July 17, 2012

Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943), Franconia Notch (Mt. Lafayette, Franconia Notch, N.H.), 1930, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches, Henry Heydenryk period frame, J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art.

The Virginia Museum of Art has gone on a serious shopping spree according to ArtDaily with a bevy of acquisitions including this striking work by Marsden Hartley (above).  The complete list is provided by the museum; here are details about the Hartley:

RICHMOND, VA.- The following artworks were acquired in May 2012 by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. VMFA is a state agency and a model public/private partnership. All works of art are purchased with private funds from dedicated endowments. After the VMFA Board of Trustees approves proposed acquisitions on a quarterly basis, the art becomes the property of the Commonwealth of Virginia to protect, preserve, and interpret.

1. Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943), Franconia Notch (Mt. Lafayette, Franconia Notch, N.H.), 1930, oil on canvas, 30 x 36 inches, Henry Heydenryk period frame, J. Harwood and Louise B. Cochrane Fund for American Art Franconia Notch by Marsden Hartley – among the most celebrated figures of the early 20th-century American avant garde – is a quintessential expression of the artist’s self-proclaimed “Americanness.” The painting belongs to a series of some 25 canvases depicting the White Mountains and rivers of New Hampshire, produced on Hartley’s 1930 return to America after an extended eight-year stay in France. This commanding picture with its bravura brushwork and high-keyed palette reveals the artist’s lifelong devotion to the work of Paul Cézanne, whose subjects Hartley had most recently studied in Aix-en-Provence. The White Mountains scene also marks a new departure for Hartley, who was intent on reclaiming his American identity at a time of growing cultural nationalism. In these terms, Franconia Notch represents a critical juncture for an American artist who (like his hero Cézanne) had long embraced mountains as a persistent motif as well as a spiritual and creative metaphor. Hartley dubbed the enduring and intensely personal associations with mountain scenes his “mountain madness”; more than one-third of his oeuvre consists of such imagery. Hartley has long been a major absence in VMFA’s American Art collection, represented only by an early Maine landscape that does not adequately convey his significant talents and legacy as a regional and international modernist. The acquisition of the mature and masterful Franconia Notch positions Hartley as an equal of his colleagues Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, whose accomplished works from the same decade – Mars Orange and Green (1935) and White Iris (1930) – are prominent “stars” of the museum’s collection. Hartley’s masterwork also adds a new dimension of modern landscape painting to VMFA’s American Mid-Twentieth-Century gallery, complementing his longtime friend Rockwell Kent’s Greenland Summer (1932).

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 26, 2012 4:44 PM

    hello, great blog! We’d like to send you some info about VCUarts’ new Institute for Contemporary Art. Could you send me your email address? I’m at cnculpepper@vcu.edu

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