Summer en Route, Moraine-Dogtown, 1931
Oil on board
20 x 18 inches
Signed, dated and inscribed on the verso
Marsden Hartley first visited Dogtown, an abandoned inland town on Cape Ann, Massachusetts, in 1920. In the summer of 1931, he returned to Dogtown to paint its vacant, and at times haunting, scenery. The land conjures notions of mysticism, a theme Hartley espoused in his paintings and poetry. Indeed, Hartley poetically described his time in Maine and Dogtown in particular with a sense of awe, and spiritual wonder. He even remarked on the similarity of the landscape with the primeval structures of Easter Island and Stonehenge, sites that continue to astound modern visitors.
Summer en Route, Moraine – Dogtown, 1931 depicts a winding dirt path that intersects the wild landscape of Dogtown, set beneath a crystal blue summer sky. Moraine is a geological term that describes the deposited rock and sediment left behind from glaciers. Hartley painted the massive forms as dense, voluminous sculpture dotting the landscape. Using heavy, expressionistic brushstrokes, Hartley rendered the loneliness and isolation of the barren settlement.