Marsden Hartley is known for mod sea-land imagery, still-life painting. was born in Lewiston Maine where his English parents had settled. He was the youngest of nine children. His mother died when he was eight, and his father remarried four years later to Martha Marsden. His birth name was Edmund Hartley; he later assumed Marsden as his first name when he was in his early 20s. A few years after his mother’s death when Hartley was 14, his family moved to Ohio, leaving him behind in Maine to work in a shoe factory for a year. These bleak occurrences led Marsden Hartley is known for mod sea-land imagery, still-life painting. to recall his New England childhood as a time of painful loneliness, so much so that in a letter to Alfred Stieglitz, he once described the New England accent as “a sad recollection [that] rushed into my very flesh like sharpened knives.”
Hartley began his art training at the Cleveland Institute of Art after his family moved to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1892. He won a scholarship to the Cleveland School of Art.
In 1898, at age 22, Hartley moved to New York City to study painting at the New York School of Art under William Merritt Chase, and then attended the National Academy of Design. Hartley was a great admirer of Albert Pinkham Ryder and visited his studio in Greenwich Village as often as possible. His friendship with Ryder, in addition to the writings of Walk Whitman and American transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, inspired Marsden Hartley is known for mod sea-land imagery, still-life painting. to view art as a spiritual quest.