Marsden Hartley Painting for Auction Sale

Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers will kick off 2021 with its Premier Gallery Auction January 9th and the most anticipated lot is certain to be an important oil on canvas of one of Mexico’s great volcanos, Popocatépetl, by visionary American Modernist, Marsden Hartley (American, 1877 – 1943). As noted by Selkirk Executive Director, Bryan Laughlin, “The Hartley painting has a wonderful story and provenance which will captivate bidders just as much as the dynamic canvas itself.”

For the Selkirk Auctioneers team, the story all started bubbling to the surface with an email. When Laughlin saw the images attached, he jumped into action. A phone call and a meeting later, the painting which had been in the same private family for nearly 70 years and three generations, was being researched and photographed. Selkirk tapped Sarah B. Cunningham of Walker-Cunningham Fine Art for her cataloguing of this lot and subsequent essay.

Although born in Maine, Hartley traveled extensively throughout his career, and it was during his travels to Mexico on the Guggenheim Fellowship in 1932-33 that he had a view of the famous landmark Popocatépetl volcano from his studio in Cuernavaca. Selkirk research revealed Hartley painted only four works in the Popocatépetl volcano motif for the Mexico City exhibit at the completion of the fellowship. Two of Hartley’s Popocatépetl paintings are now in museum collections: Popocatépetl, One Morning (The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, NE) and Popocatépetl, Spirited Morning– Mexico (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC). The third Popocatépetl work was sold at Sotheby’s in November 2012. All three were oil on board and primarily composed of blue and white.

The full catalog for the Premier Gallery Auction may be viewed online, selkirkauctions.com. For further information, please contact info@selkirkauctions.com or call 314.696.9041.

Marsden Hartley painting Lot 109 at the Jan. 9 Selkirk Auctioneers’ Premier Gallery Auction. It has a pre-sale estimate of $150,000-$250,000 Image courtesy of Selkirk Auctioneers

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