1931Artist Marsden Hartley returned to paint in Dogtown.Arts and Culture, Location and Setting, Dogtown, Art

Marsden Hartley, Study for Whale’s Jaw, Dogtown, 1931, Ink on paper, Cape Ann Museum, Gift of Robert L. and Elizabeth French, 1999, https://www.capeannmuseum.org/collections/objects/study-for-whales-jaw-dogtown/
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Hartley was a member of an avant-garde group of artists around New York gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz. Over his forty-year career, he experimented, agonized, and pushed himself in his work, dealing with ideas about mysticism, spirituality, desire, and mortality. During the winter of 1931, his health was failing, his hearing was going, and he had not painted in over a year.

He remembered Dogtown in Gloucester, where he had visited artists Stuart Davis, Elie Nadelman, and Theresa Bernstein. He painted in Dogtown while he was there, where he created paintings that were angular, flat, and colorful. While visiting in 1931, he stayed at the boarding house at 1 Eastern Point Avenue and then with the local postman Wilkens and his family at 9 Rocky Neck Avenue. Hartley made a trip to Gloucester in mid-July 1931 and by the end of November, he felt physically and spiritually rejuvenated from his time in Dogtown. He saw Dogtown as a place to find an illusive internal peace.

Cook, Greg, Marsden Hartley and Gloucester, http://www.gregcookland.com/marsdenhartley.html, September 2005, O’Gorman, James F., The Painter of Dogtown, in Soliloquy in Dogtown, Cape Ann Historical Association, Gloucester, MA, 1985, “Marsden Hartley Studio.” Rocky Neck Historic Art Trail, 14 Jan. 2019, http://trail.rockyneckartcolony.org/index.php/marsden_hartley_studio/. “Works by Marsden Hartley.” Cape Ann Museum, https://www.capeannmuseum.org/collections/artists/marsden-hartley/.
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