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Hartley Artworks

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[Mt. Katahdin]

1939
Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943)

Notes
MHMC now has four drawings of Mt. Katahdin; two were part of the original gift by Norma Berger; two are more recent acquisitions. In late October 1939 Hartley made the long-sought trip to paint Mt. Katahdin, staying for eight days at Cobbs Camp on Katahdin Lake, a spot recommended by his friend, Carl Sprinchorn, that offered “by far the most remarkable of the views of Ktaadn." There he mostly spent his time sketching the mountain and "studied deeply every form and contour – and can now do the mountain with sure knowledge.” All told, he executed about thirteen drawings and "got some good starts" on paintings while at Cobbs Camp. He completed the first painting later that fall and winter in rented quarters in Bangor; others emerged gradually over the next three years. Perhaps the most important experience and painting opportunities of his whole career, Hartley described it in letter after letter to close friends, exclaiming in one, “I have achieved the ‘sacred’ pilgrimage to Ktaadn Mt. – exceeding all my expectations so far that I am sort of helpless with words – I feel as if I have seen God for the first time . . ."

This is the only ink drawing Hartley did of Katahdin. He started with a pencil sketch over and around which lie the sepia ink strokes, with a combined tonal effect. As with the previous small sketch, Hartley's focus is the profile of Baxter Peak and what is known as the Knife Edge.

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