The Cloisters

Marsden Hartley (American, Lewiston, Maine 1877–1943 Ellsworth, Maine)
ca. 1940
Crayon on paper
16 x 12 1/4 in. (40.6 x 31.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Malcolm Hewitt Wiener Foundation Gift, 1988
Accession Number:
Not on view
The deliberate crudeness and iconic appearance of Hartley’s late figure paintings derive in part from his appreciation of medieval art. This drawing commemorates a trip to The Cloisters, the branch of The Met in northern Manhattan’s Fort Tryon Park devoted to art of the Middle Ages. The picture likely dates to a 1940 visit with Isabel Lachaise, widow of American sculptor Gaston Lachaise. In a letter he wrote (but never sent) to her, Hartley recollected their admiring together a large Spanish Crucifixion. The painter described it as "that amazing twelfth century one which is like no other in my reminiscence since it gives the air of a thinking person assailed."
the artist, Ellsworth, Me. (until d. 1943; his estate, 1943–at least 1950; inv. no. 307; to Eva Lee); [Eva Lee Gallery, Great Neck, L.I., until 1964; sold in 1964 to Rosenthal]; Dr. Herbert Rosenthal, New York (from 1964); private collection, New Mexico (until 1988; sold through the Washburn Gallery, New York, to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Marsden Hartley's Maine," March 15–June 18, 2017, not in catalogue.

Lisa Mintz Messinger in "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection 1988–1989." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 47 (Fall 1989), p. 65, ill.