Modern art can scare the horses, with its abstract imagery, minimal tones and kooky installations. No fear here, though, as even ponies will be jumping for joy checking out Marsden Hartley’s Maine (15 Mar–18 Jun). If you love paintings of marine life, sailing boats, swimmers and hunks in trunks, make a beeline for The Met Breuer…
Highly anticipated, the show explores the C.20th Modernist’s early post-Impressionist landscapes of his native state, in which he strove to celebrate regional America. Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) may not be a well known name outside of the US, but you’ll be charmed by the lush inland rural scenes which launched his career, shown alongside later, roughly rendered, darker pictures of rugged coastal terrain, its equally rugged inhabitants, and mighty Mount Katahdin. Hartley also painted vistas in Germany, Massachusetts, New Mexico, California and Nova Scotia, but Maine was closest to his heart, a lifelong source of inspiration closely connected to his personal history and social circle.
Maine is the main event, but Hartley’s works are displayed with canvasses by French modernist Cézanne, Japanese printmakers Utagawa Hiroshige and Katsushika Hokusai, and seascape-loving fellow Americans Winslow Homer and Albert Pinkham Ryder, all of whom shaped his vision.
As a closeted homosexual, Hartley struggled with life in provincial Maine, which clashed with his cosmopolitan travels abroad. That intriguing struggle between home and away is visible on the canvas. Don’t miss it.
15 Mar – 18 Jun, 2017.
Marsden Hartley's Maine / 3/F / The Met Breuer / 945 Madison Ave / Upper East Side / +1 212 731 1675 / 10am-5.30pm Tue-Thu & Sun, till 9pm Fri-Sat / metmuseum.org