Published: January 11, 2021
ST LOUIS, MO. – An oil on canvas painting by Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) rose above its $250,000 high estimate to sell for $552,000 at Selkirk Auctioneers & Appraisers’ January 9 sale. The painting, an untitled volcano scene of Popocatépetl, Mexico, also known as “Coastal Landscape in Red,” dated to 1932 to 1933 and featured intact provenance to the artist.
Eight phone lines vied for the lot, including two museums and a number of galleries.
The painting came as a result of Hartley’s 1931 Guggenheim Fellowship, where he traveled to Mexico.
In a 1932 letter to Adelaide Kuntz, Hartley wrote, “the majestic rise of Popocatépetl always in snow and certainly one of the handsomest of the volcanoes of the world – … an almost flawless triangle. I am doing several [motifs] of it…”
In a catalog essay for the lot, Sarah B. Cunningham tracked the image in Hartley’s body of works, writing, “Hartley painted four versions of Popocatépetl. Three of the paintings are oil on board in cobalt blues and bright whites. These three were exhibited in February 1933 at the Galería de la Escuela Central de Artes Plásticas in Mexico City to celebrate the culmination of Hartley’s Guggenheim Fellowship. Two of the three exhibited paintings now reside in public collections: ‘Popocatépetl, One Morning’ (The Sheldon Museum of Art in Lincoln, Neb.) and ‘Popocatépetl, Spirited Morning – Mexico’ (Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC). The third Popocatépetl work was sold at Sotheby’s in November 2012. Offered herein, is the fourth and largest in Hartley’s ‘Popocatépetl’ series.”
Watch for a full review in a future sale.
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