Beginning Tuesday, February 8th, True Grit Art Gallery (Middleboro,MA) will host a retrospective exhibition of paintings by long-time Middleboro resident and accomplished artist George Edward Hartley. Sadly, George passed away in 2020 but left behind an impressive body of artworks that deserve to be seen by the public. Through a collaboration with surviving family members, the gallery will showcase an exhibition of the deceased artist’s large paintings. ‘George Hartley: Native Son’ is on view at True Grit Art Gallery from February 8th through April 9th of 2022.
George was born a twin on January 1, 1933, in Boston. He moved to Middleboro with his family when he was a boy and graduated from Middleboro High School in 1950. He served on an oil tanker in the Navy, stationed in Hawaii and Kodiak, Alaska, after which he returned to Middleboro and worked as a lumberjack. In the late 1960s, he became a member of the Iron Workers Union Local 7 in Boston.
After retiring from construction in the late 1980s, he became a full-time painter. He was a member of the prestigious Copley Society of Art in Boston. One of his early influences was Maxfield Parrish, whose technique of glazing led George to experiment with earlier painting methods of the nineteenth century. Recurring themes of nineteenth-century Romantic poetry can be discerned in many of his works. A love of history and nostalgia is also prevalent in many of his trompe l’oeil- style, still-life paintings. George used family members and acquaintances as models in his works, often depicting them in scenes from mythology and literature.
As a whole, George Hartley’s paintings suggest he was a renaissance man of many dimensions who lived a rich and rewarding life. In addition to painting, this blue-collar worker turned artist also enjoyed ballroom dancing, traveling, and playing the harmonica. It is apparent through his works that he was a man not content to let life pass him by.
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