New Mexico Landscape

Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 - 1943

Geography:
Made in United States, North and Central America

Date:
1919

Medium:
Oil on canvas

Dimensions:
17 7/8 x 26 inches (45.4 x 66 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Modern and Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:
1949-18-4

Credit Line:
The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949

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Additional information:
  • PublicationMasterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art

    Marsden Hartley moved to Taos, New Mexico, in June 1918, seeking what he described in a letter to Alfred Steiglitz the month before as "an open space for my eyes to regain their vision and my mind to feel itself free again." Like many American painters, novelists, poets, critics, and artists of the time, he was drawn to the West through the artist colony established by Mabel Dodge, a wealthy American patron of the arts who had moved to Taos in 1917. Hartley was immediately taken by the sun-drenched, silent landscape of the southwest and its range of saturated colors, evident in New Mexico Landscape. Set against a dark blue sky, the barren, undulating hills, rendered in long, fluid brushstrokes, dominate the landscape, which is intersected by a clear blue river that winds around adobe houses bleached white by the sun; dark green cacti frame the composition in the foreground. Hartley wrote extensively about his impressions of the southwest, calling for a distinctly American type of art. In an essay from this period he wrote, "America as landscape is profoundly stirring, and the American painters must first learn to arrive at first-hand contact with it."1 Although he left New Mexico in November 1919 and never returned, the memory of the landscape stayed with him, and he revisited the region in his paintings and writings in New York and Berlin in the early 1920s. Emily Hage, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 206.

    Note:
    1) Marsden Hartley, "America as Landscape," El Palacio [the magazine of the Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe] 5, no. 21 (December 21, 1918), pp. 340-42; reprinted in Gail R. Scott, Marsden Hartley, New Mexico 1918-20: An American Discovering America (New York: Mark Borghi Fine Art and Alexandre Gallery, 2003), n.p.