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Marsden Hartley exhibit new at O'Keeffe museum

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By Katy Korkos

A new exhibition featuring American Modernist Marsden Hartley opened Friday at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. “Marsden Hartley and the West” is the title of the new exhibit, which shows a progression in the artist’s work between 1919 and 1923.The exhibit was curated by the museum’s assistant curator Heather Hole, who has brought together 41 works by Hartley to fill three of the museum’s galleries.“This is the first exhibition that brings together all of Hartley’s New Mexico work,” Hole said.Hartley, who was both a painter and a poet, was born in 1877, and up until 1914 had been most well known for his abstraction. He had met Alfred Stieglitz in 1909 and been a part of the Stieglitz circle, which included most famously Georgia O’Keeffe, and had also lived in Paris and Berlin, where he lived among the avant-garde including Gertrude Stein and Pablo Picasso. Hartley came to New Mexico shortly after World War I with the hope of developing a purely American style.He spent little more than a year in New Mexico, but the landscape influenced his painting for the rest of his life, Hole said. Hartley is considered one of the foremost American painters of the first half of the 20th century. He was also a poet, essayist and writer.Works in the exhibit include the more representational pastels Hartley drew on site in Taos when he first arrived in New Mexico, and the more abstract oils he began to paint as “Recollections of New Mexico” after his return to Europe in 1921.The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, which first opened to the public in 1997, is the first museum in the United States that is dedicated to a single woman artist. Its collection of nearly 3,000 works comprises 1,149 O’Keeffe paintings, drawings and sculpture. Throughout the year, visitors can see a changing selection of at least 50 of these works.The Hartley exhibit runs through May 11. Upcoming exhibits at the O’Keeffe include “Georgia O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams: Natural Affinities” from May 23 through Sept. 7, and “Georgia O’Keeffe and the Camera: The Art of Identity” from Sep. 26 through Feb.1, 2009.The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the exception of Wednesdays, when the museum is closed. General admission is $8, $4 for New Mexico residents.In addition, the museum is open on Friday evenings from 5 to 8 p.m. and admission is free on Friday evenings. The museum’s website can be found at www.okeeffemuseum.org.