Hurricane Island, Vinalhaven, Maine
Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 - 1943
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This powerful painting conveys the artist's fascination with nature. Hartley spent the summer and fall of 1938 in Vinalhaven, Maine, and later recalled his trip in this dramatic landscape. High cliffs, rendered in subtly blended browns, yellows, and reds, dominate the composition. Rocks in the foreground pull the viewer in, while the darkly silhouetted pine trees and the amorphous, cloudlike form in sky create a sense of foreboding. This piece reflects a change in style from Hartley's earlier works, in which he produced simple, geometric forms in bright, primary colors. He painted this scene at the end of his life, after a long and successful career as a leading American Modernist.