I stumbled across Hartley a couple years ago. So it was with great delight that I unexpectedly encountered him again in a museum on western art. Hartley spent just a very short time in the American West before leaving and never returning.
Mushrooms on a Blue Background is stunning for its boldness of color and shapes. It seems deceptively simple, as though anyone could have painted it. But this just isn’t the case. Rather the painting shows that talent can make something look so simple that isn’t.
I love the shades of blue and brown, the shadows that the mushrooms throw, the lines around them delineating their boundaries—and how all of these make the entire painting pop.
Mushrooms on a Blue Background
Indianapolis Museum of Art