MARSDEN HARTLEY (1877-1943) is considered to be one of America’s most important modernist painters. Hartley was born in Lewiston and the state of Maine was integral to the artist's identity, manifesting itself in his travels, art, and writing. In 1951, the heirs of the Marsden Hartley estate left as a gift to Bates College, in compliance with his wish, the last remaining effects from Corea, Maine, where he lived and kept a studio. The collection was left as a memorial to the Lewiston artist of international recognition and historical note. In 1955, Hartley’s niece, Norma G. Berger, made an additional gift of the Artist’s drawings and other works to the College. The variety in the collection is part of what makes it significant and interesting to a range of scholars. The collection as a whole, allowing comparisons among drawings, textiles, objects and written works provides more opportunities for insight into this important American Modernist than one can get viewing artworks alone. The extensive range of this unique collection make it a valuable repository of regional and national heritage.
THE MARSDEN HARTLEY MEMORIAL COLLECTION at the Bates College Museum of Art consists of over 400 artworks and objects. The collection includes: over one hundred drawings by Hartley, important as the largest collection of the artist's work in this medium; several early oil sketches by Hartley; works by other artists in Hartley’s personal collection; textiles and antiquities; photographs; personal objects and ephemera. With the inclusion of the artist’s personal library and a small number of written works, the Marsden Hartley Memorial Collection at Bates College is an important and valuable part of the artistic and cultural heritage of the State of Maine. The artist’s library and writings are held in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library.
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