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Marsden Hartley

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Image of Earth Warming

Marsden Hartley
American, 1877–1943

Earth Warming

1932

Object Type: Painting
Creation Place: North America, American, New York
Dimensions:
25 1/4 in. x 33 in. (64.14 cm x 83.82 cm)
Medium and Support: Oil on paperboard
Accession Number: 1989.0002.0015

Credit Line: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama, The Blount Collection

Currently On View


"Earth Warming" is one of twenty paintings in a series titled "Murals for an Arcane Library" created while Hartley was living in Mexico. Having won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1931, Hartley elected to paint and study there for a year, arriving in March of 1932. It is believed that "Earth Warming" was painted in Cuernavaca in 1932.

Although not naturalistic, the painting is clearly a rugged and mountainous landscape. The brilliant red rock formations appear to soak in the rich, reflective colors of the sun’s rays. When contrasted with the clear blue sky and rolling white clouds it is as if Hartley is attempting to communicate the essence of spirituality—that which is physically unseen—through the contrasting natures of hot and cold coloration. Hartley was drawn to mountainscapes and monolithic shapes throughout his career, in seemingly every locale he visited, and these looming structures were consistently located and recorded. The monumental nature of these forms suggested nature’s inescapable power over man.

American Paintings from the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, 2006, cat. no. 58, p. 148.

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