The Seashell, 1929
Oil on board
17 ¼ x 14 ½ inches
Signed and dated on the verso
Marsden Hartley was one of the earliest and most progressive American artists to embrace modernism. His works attracted the attention of Alfred Stieglitz, the influential photographer and gallerist who helped finance his trip to Paris in 1912. Over the course of three years, he traveled throughout Europe, joining other expatriate artists supported by Stieglitz and meeting modernists through Gertrude Stein.
During the late 1920s, Hartley primarily painted still life compositions and landscapes of the Aix-en-Provence region in the South of France. The Seashell was painted in 1929 during this period and depicts a mossy green conch shell atop a bright pink fabric that was used as a backdrop in other still life compositions. Hartley returned to the United States in 1930 and spent the next decade painting landscapes and regional scenes throughout the country.