LEWISTON – The Bates College Museum of Art and 217 Films will present the world premiere of the Marsden Hartley documentary “Visible Silence: Marsden Hartley, Painter and Poet” Thursday, Sept. 25.

Featuring more than 43 paintings and sketches by this American master, and drawing heavily from his poetic works, the documentary captures the essence of Hartley – long considered one of the fathers of American Modernism.

Connecticut-based independent filmmakers Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton of 217 Films produced the documentary. Written, narrated and directed by Maglaras, the hourlong film will be shown at 7 and 9 p.m. in the museum at Olin Arts Center, 75 Russell St.

The Bates museum is home to the world’s largest collection of Hartley artifacts, and “Visible Silence” features many pieces from this extensive archive, including drawings and photographs.

In May, a painting by this Lewiston-born artist sold for $6.31 million, setting an auction record at Christie’s in New York for an American Modernist work, overtaking a record previously held by a work of Georgia O’Keeffe.

Hartley was deeply attached to his hometown and to the Androscoggin River, and locations in and around these areas play a key role in the film. Hartley traveled extensively but always returned to Maine and at the end of his life, considered himself “Maine’s Painter.” He requested his ashes be strewn along the Androscoggin when he died; this important and poignant moment is dramatized in “Visible Silence.”

A national tour of “Visible Silence” is planned for 2008-09.

The world premiere of 217 Films’ first Maine-made movie, “Cleophas and His Own,” based on a narrative by Hartley, took place in Lewiston in 2005.

Admission is free but tickets are required. For reservations or more information, call 786-6135 or e-mail [email protected]

A 9 a.m. press conference will be held at the Bates College Museum of Art officially proclaiming Sept. 25 as Marsden Hartley Day. The proclamation issued by Gov. John Baldacci urges all citizens to recognize the achievements and contributions of this influential native son.

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