At the vanguard of renewed interest in Maine’s influential early modernist Marsden Hartley, University of Southern Maine Professor Donna M. Cassidy has written “Marsden Hartley: Race, Region, and Nation.”

In her book, Cassidy appraises the contemporary social, political, and economic realities that shaped Hartley’s landmark late art. During the late 1930s and early 1940s, Hartley strove to represent the distinctive subjects of his native region -the North Atlantic folk, the Maine coast and Mount Katahdin – producing work that demands an interpretive approach beyond art history’s customary biographical, stylistic, and thematic methodologies.

Cassidy, a scholar, reassess his late work in light of contemporary American perceptions of race, ethnicity, place and history. The insightful book contains numerous and rich illustrations, as well as transcriptions of several key essays by Hartley, some never before published, including “This Country of Maine” (1937-38).

Cassidy is a professor of American and New England studies and art history at USM and the author of “Painting the Musical City: Jazz and Cultural Identity in American Art, 1910-1940,” published in 1997.

“Marsden Hartley: Race, Region, and Nation,” published by the University of Press of New England, is available at local bookstores, Portland and USM bookstores and the Portland Museum of Art. The 395-page book, which has 167 illustrations, costs $39.95.

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