William Hart (1823-1894)

  • WILLIAM HART (1823–1894)
  • Montezuma Marsh, 1872
  • Watercolor on paper
  • 20 ¼ x 30 inches
  • Signed and dated 1872

Montezuma Marsh demonstrates Hart's fine control over the challenging medium, and his brilliant use of tonal, neutral colors to express a sense of solitude and the unknown. The still pool of water is lined by a variety of grasses, the landscape is dotted with sporadically clustered trees, and the clouds create a hazy blanket over this mysterious landscape. The Montezuma Marshes are located at the north end of Cayuga Lake, in New York State's Finger Lakes region, and take their name from the palace and Aztec emperor Montezuma. As can be seen in Hart's image, the shallow shoreline is lined with broad-leaved cattail. Varieties of water birds such as herons, egrets, ducks, and geese congregate in the marsh, which is located on the Atlantic Flyway used by migratory birds. Hart celebrates the ecological significance of this place by including a representative of these waterfowl who take refuge in the marshes during the fall and spring migration seasons.

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