Marsden Hartley’s art is inspiring and you can see it at Colby College for free!

Marsden Hartley’s art – much of it depicting Maine’s beautiful outdoors – has always been a favorite of mine. And now, until November 12, you can see much of it for free at Colby College’s art museum.

Linda and I recently enjoyed a guided tour of the Hartley exhibit at Colby, led by Maine artist Evelyn Dunphy and sponsored by Friends of Baxter State Park. I kept thinking, as we enjoyed Hartley’s art, that the tour was a new trail through Baxter Park – and a stunning tour too.

Evelyn was a superb guide, giving us lots of information about Hartley and his art. She will lead another tour on October 18. You can reserve a place for that tour on the Friends of Baxter State Park website.

Evelyn’s art is stunning too, and you can access it here. And please check out the website of Friends of Baxter State Park. If you enjoy the park, you should be a member of the Friends group. Check out their exciting raffle now going on. You could win some amazing trips.

Hartley was born in Lewiston in 1877 and died in 1943. He traveled the world, painting it all, but Maine was his focus.

As I stared at his painting Winter Blizzard, I could feel the wind and snow. Brrrr! Nearby was a painting of a beautiful waterfall. I could hear it flowing. And his many paintings of Mount Katahdin will put you right onto that mountain.

Hartley first visited that area for 8 days in October 1939. He stayed at Katahdin Lake Camps, which are now part of the park. Lots of artists have stayed there and painted those beautiful vistas – including Evelyn Dunphy.

I stood for a long time in front of the painting of a tinker mackerel below a separate painting of the sea. Been there. Caught that!

Of the many works of art depicting Maine, one of my favorites was of a young hunter wearing a red jacket and holding a set of deer antlers, which I assumed he was going to use to rattle up a buck.

I was especially amused by Hartley’s opinion of tourism, presented in one of the many poems he wrote. He deplored tourism’s impacts on Maine. In his poem Vacationland, I read this:

The word shivers down the spine/ like lightening in among the spruces/ and the firs.

Don’t miss this wonderful exhibit!

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website,, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.