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the Marsden Hartley
Memorial Collection & Archive
Bates College Museum of Art, Lewiston, Maine

Hartley at Home: About the Artist: a Chronological Biography of Marsden Hartley from 1877 to 1943

1877: January 4: Edmund Hartley born in Lewiston Maine to Thomas and Eliza Jane Hartley.
1885: March 4: Mother, Eliza Jane Hartley, dies. Younger sisters sent away to live with older sister. Edmund moves across Androscoggin River to live with elder sister in Auburn, Maine.
Father, Thomas Hartley, marries Martha Marsden and moves to Cleveland, Ohio.
1892: Edmund leaves school to work in Knopf shoe factory in Lewiston.
1893: Edmund moves to Cleveland to join father and stepmother where he takes job as office boy in a quarry.
1896: Takes weekly art lessons with Cleveland landscape painter John Semon.
1898: Summer: Loses job at quarry; studies plein-air painting with Cullen Yates in Cleveland.
  Fall: Enrolls in Cleveland School of Art on scholarship. Teacher Nina Wadeck gives him a copy of Ralph Waldo Emerson's Essays.
1899: Spring: Awarded five-year annual stipend of $450 from Anne Walworth, trustee of Cleveland School of Art to study art in New York City.
  Fall: Enrolls in New York School of Art (The Chase School); works with Luis Mora and Frank Vincent DuMond.
1900: Summer: Returns to Lewiston for first time in 7 years. Makes field studies of flora and fauna.
  Fall: Transfers to National Academy of Design, where he studies for next four years under Francis C. Jones and others.
1901: Summer: Joins art colony of Charles Fox and Curtis Perry in North Bridgton, Maine.
1902: Spring: Awarded Honorable Mention for composition and the Suydam Silver Medal for still-life drawing at the National Academy.
  Summer: Lives in North Lovell, Maine where he paints mountains.
1903: Summer: Returns to Center Lovell.
  Winter: Attends National Academy.
1904: November: Fellowship expires. Works as an extra with Proctor's Theatre Company in New York.
1905: Summer: Tours with Proctor's theatre. Meets Horace Traubel and paints Walt Whitman's house in Camden, New Jersey.
1906: Fall: Proctor's tour ends in Boston. Hartley returns to Lewiston where he rents a studio on Lisbon Street, distributing announcements that he is available to give art lessons.
  Winter: Paints Impressionist landscapes. Adopts mother's name, changes his to Edmund Marsden Hartley. Reads Maurice Maeterlink, Edgar Allan Poe, Henrik Ibsen, and Irish poetry.
1907: Summer: Hired to erect tents for Congress of Religions at Green Acre in Eliot, Maine, a utopian community.
  Fall: First solo exhibition held in home of Mrs. Ole Bull, adjacent to Green Acre complex. Returns to Lovell area to sketch.
  Winter: Returns to Boston.
1908: Spring: Continues Impressionist landscapes. Exhibits painting at Rowlands Gallery, Boston, and meets prominent collector Desmond Fitzgerald, who buys Maine Blizzard.
  Summer: Returns to North Lovell where he remains through the winter.
1909: March: Takes paintings to Boston to show Charles and Maurice Prendergast, who write letters of introduction to William Glackens. Hartley goes to New York where he shows work to some of "The Eight" at Glacken's studio.
  April: Seamus O'Sheel takes Hartley to 291 Gallery and introduces him to Alfred Steiglitz.
  May: Hartley's first major solo exhibition held at 291. Meets dealer N.E. Montross, who shows him work by Albert Pinkham Ryder.
  Summer: Borrows space in studio of friend Ernest Roth, where he paints Dark Mountain paintings after Ryder.
  November: Returns to Lewiston.
1910: Winter: Returns to New York where he joins Stieglitz's 291 circle of artists and writers. Sees Rodin and Matisse drawing shows at 291.
  Summer: Returns to North Lovell where he paints Fauvist landscapes with bright color and thick paint.
  December: Returns to New York.
1911: Hospitalized for five weeks with scarlet fever.
  March 11: Exhibits 15 works in Independents Exhibition. After seeing Picasso's work at 291, inspired to produce first abstractions. Visits Philidelphia and Baltimore in unsuccessful attempts to sell paintings.
  June: Returns to North Lovell, where he does series of Cezannesque still lifes of pears from black-and-white reproductions.
  November: Returns to New York and visits Cezanne exhibit from Havemeyer collection with Arthur B. Davies.
1912: February: Second solo exhibition held at 291. Through sale of painting to Agnes Meyer, Stieglitz and Davies arrange for him to go to Europe.
  April 11: Arrives in Paris.
  June: Borrows Lee Simonson's studio at 18 rue Moulin de Beurre and paints still lifes in Matisse-Cezanne style; meets Gertrude and Leo Stein and sees their collection.
  July: Introduced to German coterie, including Arnold Ronnebeck and his cousin Karl von Freyburg. Reads Kandinsky's Der Blaue Reiter and On the Spiritual in Art. Reads Christian mystics and Willam James’ Varieties of Religious Experience.
  November: Travels to London with his still-life paintings; meets Augustus John at Chenil Gallery; visits British Museum. Begins painting "intuitive abstractions," including Musical Theme paintings.
1913: January 3: Leaves for three-week trip to Berlin to visit Ronnebeck and his family.
  January 2: Meets Kandinsky and Gabriele Munter on return trip through Munich. Sees Franz Marc's work at Galerie Thannhauser.
  February: Included in the Armory show in New York.
  March: Visits Stein's salon regularly; Corresponds with Marc.
  April: Lee Simonson returns to Paris; Hartley leaves Paris for Berlin; stays with Franc Marc in Sindelsdorf for four days; arrives in Berlin in May.
  Summer: Paints prewar pageants and mystical paintings.
  September: Five "intuitive abstractions" exhibited in Erster deutscher Herbstsalon in Berlin with Blaue Reiter Artists.
  November 15: Sails for New York with work for the 291 exhibition.
1914: January: Third solo show held at 291.
  February: Spends ten days in Buffalo, New York for show in home of Nina Bull.
  March: Returns to Germany via London and Paris
  April 30: Arrives in Berlin. Paints emblematic color abstractions.
  Summer: Paints Amerika series.
  August: Germany declares war on the Allies. Learns that his father died August 4. Hartley continues painting.
  October 7: Karl von Freyburg killed in battle.
  Early November: Begins German Officer series.
1915: Continues German Officer series in Berlin for nearly a year.
  May: Martha Marsden, stepmother, dies.
  October: Exhibition at the Munchener Graphik-Verlag, Berlin, of 45 paintings and some drawings.
  December 11: Returns to New York.
1916: Lives in New York. Pays short visit to Mabel Dodge in Croton-on-Hudson and attends Dodge's salon in Greenwich Village. Does cubistic portraits and still lifes.
  March: Participates in The Forum Exhibition of Modern American Painters.
  April 4: Fourth solo exhibition at 291, of German Officer paintings which are not well received.
  July 13: Arrives in Provincetown, Massachusetts where he stays for the summer as guest of John Reed, with Carl Sprinchorn, Charles Demuth, William and Marguerite Zorach, and other artists.
  Fall: Remains in Provincetown, then returns to New York.
  December: Spends the winter in Bermuda with Charles Demuth.
1917: January: First essays and poems published in The New Republic and Seven Arts.
  April: Participates in First Annual Exhibition of the Society of Independent Artists; Paints still-life-through window landscapes.
  May: Returns to New York.
  June: Visits Lewiston and joins Hamilton Easter Field's art colony in Ogunquit, Maine. Does painting on glass.
  Fall: Returns to New York and lives in Field's Brooklyn Heights apartment.
1918: June 14: At Mabel Dodges suggestion, travels to Taos, New Mexico, where he stays to do still lifes and pastel landscapes.
  November 6: Unhappy and concerned about influenza epidemic. Moves to Santa Fe. Writes essays on Indians and the American Landscape. First poems published in Poetry.
1919: February: Visits Sprinchorn in La Canada, California. Meets Robert McAlmon at poetry reading. Visits San Fransisco.
  June: Returns to Santa Fe to do second series of pastels and some oils of New Mexico landscape. Sells painting to Santa Fe museum.
  November 19: Returns to New York, stopping en route in Chicago, where he sees Sherwood Anderson and Harriet Monroe.
1920: Winter: Works on New Mexico paintings.
  Spring: Becomes involved with the New York Dada movement.
  May 4: Appointed Secretary of the Societe Anime, founded by Marcel Duchamp and Katherine Dreier.
  June: Goes to Gloucester, Massachusetts for duration of the summer.
  October: Returns to New York where he introduces McAlmon to William Carlos Williams and works on first issue of Contact with them. Continues to publish poems in Poetry and Little Review.
1921: Spring: Involved in Societe Anime; publishes "Adventures in the Arts" with Boni, Liveright.
  May 17: Stieglitz and Mitchell Kennerly arrange a public auction of 117 works by Hartley at Anderson galleries, New York. It raises almost $4,000 which is enough to get Hartley to Europe again.
  July: Arrives in Paris where he visits sculptor John Storrs in Orleans.
  November: Arrives in Berlin, where he enjoys inflated exchange rate and lives well.
1922: Paints still lifes of fruit, bowls, baskets, and bread.
  Fall: Does lithographs of similar still-life arrangements.
1923: Spring: "Twenty-five Poems" published by Marc Almon in Paris. Begins series of New Mexico Recollections.
  July: Nude pastel studies.
  Fall: Goes to Vienna, does an Italian tour where he remains in Florence for eight weeks. Also visits Arezzo, Rome and Naples. Writes essays on art encountered on travels.
1924: Winter: Sails for New York.
  February: Arranges with a syndicate of five businessmen for an annual stipend of $2,000 in exchange for paintings. This enables him to live in Europe for the next four years.
  Summer: Returns to Paris via London, Brussels, Antwerp. Uses George Biddle's studio, where he continues New Mexico Recollections and does series of fish still lifes and recollections of Maine.
1925: January: Participates in a group show of American artists at the Galerie Briant-Robert, Paris.
  August: Moves to Vence, France, where he takes a year's lease on a house. Does landscapes of Italian Alps around Gattiere and Caros. Writes "Provencal Preludes" and "Bach for Breakfeast" poems.
1926: March: Visits Paris and sees Cezanne exhibition at Bernheim-Jeune galleries, which rekindles his interest in Cezanne.
  October: Moves to Aix-en-Provence
  December: Settles in Maison Maria, in the Chateau Noir Forest, takes Cezanne's old studio and works in a Cezannesque style.
1927: Winter: Travels to Paris, Berlin, and Hamburg, returning to Aix in the summer. Does Mont Sainte-Victoire paintings and pencil and silverpoint drawings of trees and rocks.
  December: Goes to Paris.
1928: January: Arrives in New York and then visits Chicago for his exhibition at Arts Club of Chicago. Visits Arnold Ronnebeck in Denver, where Hartley lectures on Cezanne.
  Summer: Visits friends in Conway, New Hampshire, and spends two weeks in Georgetown, Maine with Gaston and Isabel Lachaise and Paul and Rebecca Strand.
  August 20: Sails again for France.
  Winter: Stays in Paris in large apartment and does seashell still-lifes.
1929: April: Returns to Maison Maria in Aix-en-Provence, depressed over critical reaction to his painting and to his long absence from home. Reads George Santayana, Miguel Unamuno, and Christian mystics.
  November: Travels to Marseilles where he meets Hart Crane by chance; then goes on alone to Toulouse, Albi, Paris, and London for Christmas. Proceeds to Hamburg, Berlin, Dresden.
1930: March 5: After farewell tour of Europe, sails for New York, where he lives in Brooklyn Heights. Rebecca Types his book of essays about Europe, "Varied Paterns."
  June: Goes to Sugar Hill, near Franconia, New Hampshire, for summer with a Polish friend who has a car and drives him to painting sites. Visits Montreal and Quebec.
  Fall: Returns for fall colors in New Hampshire.
  November: Returns to Brooklyn and lives at Pierrepont Hotel, where he is severly stricken with bronchitis.
1931: Winter: Ill and depressed. Cared for by Adelaide Kuntz and other friends.
  Spring: Recieves a Guggenheim fellowship and decides to go to Mexico.
  July: Returns to Gloucester to paint Dogtown Common; stays through November.
  December: Returns to New York, visits family in Cleveland for Christmas.
1932: March: Takes a ship to Vera Cruz and then goes to Mexico City.
  April 26: Exhibition "The Return of the Native" at the Downtown gallery in New York.
  April 27: Hart Crane commits suicide on his way back to the U.S. after being in Mexico on a Guggenheim fellowship.
  May: Hartley moves to Cuernavaca because of his health problems caused by the altitude in Mexico City. Has a studio with a view of Popocatepetl and paints several versions of the volcano. Has access to library of occcult literature. Executes Mexico mystical fantasy pictures.
  November: Included in the first Whitney Biennial. Returns to Mexico City.
1933: February: Exhibition held at Galeria de la Escuela Central de Artes Plasticas, Mexico City of his year's work.
  March: Denied renewal for second year of Guggenheim fellowship.
Sails from Vera Cruz for Hamburg, where he stays for the summer.
  September: Determines to paint Alps and goes to Garmisch-Partakenkirchen in Bavaria. Walks great distances in the vicinity and does many drawings.
  Winter: Executes paintings and lithographs from studies. Travels to Munich. Reads Shakespeare and Gerturde Stein's "Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas" and starts his own autobiography.
1934: February: Leaves Europe, never to return. Arrives in New York.
  March 29: Employed by the WPA in the easel painting division; rebels against constraints and quits after one month.
  July: Returns to Gloucester and does second series of Dogtown works.
  Fall: Returns to New York.
1935: January 4: Destroys one hundred paintings and drawings in storage because he cannot afford to pay storage bill. Very ill and depressed.
  February: Included in the "Abstract Painting in America" exhibition at the Whitney Museum.
  Summer: Travels to Bermuda to recuperate. Executes flower and fish 'fancies.'
  September: Sails for Lunenberg, Nova Scotia, also staying Blue Rocks.
  November: Boards with Francis Mason family on Eastern Points island.
  December: Returns to New York.
1936: January 29: Applies for an assignment with the WPA and works until May 14.
  March: Exhibition at An American Place received well.
  April: Gives lecture entitled "And the Nude Has Descended the Staircase" at the museum of Modern Art in connection with a Surrealist exhibition. Continues publishing essays in various periodicals.
  July: Returns to Eastern Points to live with Masons; does third Dogtown series from memory.
  September: Alty and Donny Mason drown in a hurricane with their cousin Allan. Hartley is included in the "New Horizons in American Art" exhibition, at the Museum of Modern Art.
  December: Hartley returns to New York.
1937: April 20: Last exhibition with Stieglitz held at An American Place. Writes "On the Subject of Nativeness- A Tribute to Maine" for the catalogue. Hudson Walker takes nine paintings from the show for his own gallery.
  June: Hartley visits his family in Auburn, Maine. Rents house in Georgetown near Gaston Lachaise's home; stays for five months and talks of becoming 'the' painter of Maine.
  December: Moves to Portland, Maine for the winter.
1938: February: Goes to New York for first solo exhibition at the Hudson Walker Gallery.
  Summer: Resides off of Vinalhaven, an island off of Rockland, Maine. Works on seascapes and 'archaic portraits' of Nova Scotia people and Ryder.
  November: Spends a week visiting in Lewiston and Auburn.
  Winter: Moves to Boston.
1939: February: Goes to New York.
  March: In second solo exhibition at Walker Gallery, exhibits first 'archaic portraits.'
  June: Returns to Maine, staying in Portland, Lewiston, Auburn, and then Bagaduce in West Brookville as guest of Claire Spencer and John Evans. Waldo Pierce takes him to Corea, Maine, where Hartley decides to live the next season.
  September: Moves to Bangor for the Winter and teaches art classes.
  October: Takes eight-day trip to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.
  November: Works on Katahdin pictures in Bangor.
  December: Exhibition at Symphony Hall is well recieved.
1940: January: Recieves $300 prize for "End of Hurricane" in the Pennsylvania Academy annual exhibit.
  March: Visits New York for third solo exhibition at Walker Gallery, in which he shows first Katahdin paintings and figural works.
  August: Boards with Forest and Katie Young, a lobster fisherman and his wife, in Corea. Hartley works on figure and religious paintings. Wins J. Henry Scheidt Memorial Prize at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Publishes "Androscoggin", a collection of poems with Leon Tebbetts, a Maine publisher.
1941: January: Moves to Bangor for several months.
  March: Goes to New York and lives in Winslow Hotel.
  July: Returns to Maine where he visits Portland and Old Orchard Beach, where he does studies of figures on the beach, and then moves back to Corea. Concentrates on writing and revises his autobiography ("Somehow A Past"), "Cleophas and His Own" (about his Nova Scotia experience), and "The Spangle of Existence" (another collection of essays). Publishes second volume of poetry, "Sea Burial", with Leon Tebbetts. Winter
Travels to Cincinnati for joint exhibition with Stuart Davis at Cincinnati Art Museum, then to Cleveland for Christmas with family.
1942: Gives lecture at Cincinnati Art Museum, "Is Art Necessary?"
  March: Exhibition held at MacBeth Gallery, New York.
  Summer: Returns to Corea. Paul Rosenberg becomes his dealer.
  November: First exhibition at Paul Rosenberg and Company, New York.
  December: "Lobster Fishermen at Corea" wins Fourth Painting Purchase Prize ($2000) at Metropolitan Museum of Art's "Artists for Victory" exhibition.
1943: January: Returns to New York. Writes last series of poems, "Patterns for Prayers."
  Summer: Returns to Corea. Is very ill most of the summer.
  September 2: Dies of heart failure in hospital at Ellsworth, Maine.