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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Painting: 20th century: (Lobster on Black Background)
(Lobster on Black Background)

(Lobster on Black Background)
Marsden Hartley
oil on fiberboard
22 x 28 in. (55.9 x 71.1 cm)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Henry P. McIlhenny

In 1937, after years of travel, Marsden Hartley returned to his native Maine, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life. Inspired by the rugged landscape, he painted images of the coast and surrounding area; Mt. Katahdin, the state's highest peak, features in numerous works. He also created elegant still lifes, floral studies as well as pictures featuring lobster traps, nets, and buoys---the trappings of the fisherman's life---including Lobster on Black Background. Often in ill health, his eyesight failing him in these last years, Hartley nevertheless held fast to his love of nature and fascination with form and realism---seen here in the simply rendered directness and crisp outlines of a Maine lobster.

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