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Marsden Hartley

Recognized as one of the foremost American modernists, Marsden Hartley created a highly individualized body of work influenced by his frequent experimentation with abstraction and figuration, a search for spirituality in art and nature, and a nomadic lifestyle.

Hartley spent the early part of 1932 in Mexico, where he embarked on an extensive study of Aztec history and culture. This painting is one of four from that period depicting Popocatépetl, one of Mexico’s highest active volcanoes. Meaning “smoking mountain” in the indigenous Nahuatl language, Popocatépetl was named for a warrior who took his own life after the death of his betrothed and was later transformed into the mountain.

Marsden Hartley
Lewiston, ME 1877–Ellsworth, ME 1943
Popocatépetl, One Morning
Oil on Masonite, 1932
23 1/8 × 27 3/4 inches
Sheldon Museum of Art, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Howard S. Wilson Memorial, U-506.1966