Lobster Fishermen

Marsden Hartley American

Not on view

In the mid-1930s, after many restless years of personal and artistic exploration, Hartley reoriented his art on his home state of Maine. Aware of Maine’s reputation as a natural oasis from city life and responsive to the popularity of so-called folk art, Hartley developed a self-consciously "primitive" style. In 1940 he moved to the small coastal town of Corea, where he commandeered an abandoned church as a studio and painted this gathering of lobster fishermen on a wharf, arranged against an elevated view of the harbor. Like the card players who appear in an esteemed series of paintings by Paul Cézanne, whom Hartley revered, these rugged fishermen appear common, but essential to the region. In particular, the figure on the left towers over the scene, suggesting his archetypal presence.

Lobster Fishermen, Marsden Hartley (American, Lewiston, Maine 1877–1943 Ellsworth, Maine), Oil on hardboard (masonite)

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