Exhibition | Arlie Kuntz, Marsden Hartley and American Modernism

Aug 6, 2014 — Sep 21, 2014

From spring through fall 1927, American artist Charles Philip Kuntz (1897 – 1928), nicknamed Arlie, and his wife, Adelaide Shaffer Kuntz, were neighbors of Marsden Hartley’s in Aix-en-Provence, the native home of Paul Cezanne in southern France. Hartley (1877 – 1943) was a member of the New York circle of artists represented by Alfred Stieglitz, a gallerist, pioneer of modern photography, and charismatic intellectual leader.

While Hartley had already established an international reputation as one of the most advanced American painters, Kuntz was just beginning to make his own signature statement with large-scale expressionistic landscapes and figurative works. The Kuntzes had spent the previous seven years traveling in Europe, where Arlie, who had studied at both the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design, absorbed modernist influences in Paris, Munich, and Rome.  Both artists were in Aix to bask in all things Cezanne, who was one of the original French Impressionists and became by the turn of the century, the pre-eminent and iconic painter of the modern era.

In March 1928, Kuntz’s life and career tragically ended in a motorcycle accident.  He was 30 years old. Afterward, Adelaide began a fifteen-year correspondence with Hartley and helped sustain him with her patronage as a collector.

This exhibition documents, for the first time, the work of Arlie Kuntz and the vital role that Aix and the Kuntzes played in the career of Marsden Hartley. Drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition is complemented by generous loans from members of the Kuntz family, local collectors, and Driscoll Babcock Galleries, New York.