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Marsden Hartley Painting Rediscovered After 40 Years

A 1936 painting by American artist Marsden Hartley, unseen for four decades, has now resurfaced.

The painting in question is Friend Against Wind, made by American modernist painter Marsden Hartley in 1936. The 17×12 inches painting features two Eucharists holding a chalice over blue flames. The work was supposedly created to pay homage to Hartley’s Canadian friends who died in a hurricane. It was one of the last works of Hartley, who died in 1943.

Investigations so far have found that the painting had only ever been exhibited twice. The first was in 1936, shortly after being finished, at the American Place Gallery in New York. In 1980, it was exhibited for the second time in Portland. In 1987 it was supposed to go once again in the display, but couldn’t due to being under the possession of a collector.

Marsden Hartley

The collector had reportedly deposited the painting in a bank vault for safekeeping due to fear of it getting stolen. Since then, the work has been sitting in a vault at Key Bank in Maine. The vault was opened only after the collector died recently. There, the work was re-discovered by his lawyers, who soon contacted the Gail Scott at Bates College Museum of Arts. The museum has a large collection dedicated to works by Marsden Hartley.

Scott soon confirmed that it was an original work by Hartley. The work is currently with the museum for safekeeping until its ownership could be determined. Scott is also working on a large catalogue of Hartley works, both known and unknown.