Lobster Fishermen (Marsden Hartley)

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Lobster Fishermen
Lobster Fishermen MET DP-631-001.jpg
ArtistMarsden Hartley
MediumOil on hardboard (masonite)
Dimensions75.6 cm × 103.8 cm (29.8 in × 40.9 in)
LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

Lobster Fishermen is an early 20th century painting by American artist Marsden Hartley. Done in oil on masonite, the work depicts a group of lobster fishermen in Hartley's native state of Maine. Considered part of Hartley's 'Maine Series', Lobster Fishermen is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.



Born in Lewiston, Maine, Marsden Hartley left his home state in the early 20th century to start his career as an artist.[1] After some successes and failures, Hartley returned to his native Maine in 1937, and quickly established himself as one of the foremost painters in and of the state.[1] Having lived in cities for much of his life, Marsden was comforted by the relative isolation that his residence in Maine provided him; this respect came to be represented in much of Marsden's body of works, many of which depicted Maine's rugged landscapes and people.[1][2]

Marsden's return to Maine coincided with the rise of the Folk Art movement, which valued the production of art concerning folk themes. Marsden himself developed a self-consciously "primitive" style of painting and this style is present in his Maine paintings, including Lobster Fishermen.[2][3]


Lobster Fishermen itself depicts a group of lobster fishermen (participants in Maine's iconic lobster industry) posed on a dock. The painting was rendered by Hartley in 1940-41 while the artist was occupying an abandoned church in the fishing village of Corea, Maine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art's profile of the piece notes that Lobster Fishermen is similar to Paul Cézanne's painting series The Card Players.[2]

Study for Lobster Fishermen, painted by Hartley in 1940

A study (produced in 1940) for Lobster Fishermen is also in the Met's collection.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, Norma J., ed. (1988), The American Collections, Columbus Museum of Art, p. 78, 82
  2. ^ a b c "Lobster Fishermen". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  3. ^ Donna M. Cassidy in Marsden Hartley. Ed. Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser. Exh. cat., Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford. New Haven, 2002
  4. ^ "Study for Lobster Fishermen". www.metmuseum.org. Retrieved 2019-07-31.