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Hartley Artworks

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Dessins et Gouaches de Roger De La Fresnaye

Roger De La Fresnaye, French, (1885 - 1925)

As was the case with many of the artifacts and work by other artists that Hartley possessed, he might have acquired this portfolio of reproductions of drawings and gouaches by French Artist Roger de la Fresnaye (1885-1925) by trading something of his own. But clearly he treasured the acquisition because it inspired an essay, written in 1942, which opens with the words, "I am fondling this morning one of my few rare possessions, and when I say fondling, I mean exactly that—just as when a connoisseur of gens or shells loves the very click of them in the palm of his hand—I am fondling a now very rare folio of drawings and gouaches of one of the most significant artists of the modern movement, none other than Roger de la Fresaye" (published in On Art by Marsden Hartley, ed. Gail R. Scott. New York: Horizon Press, 1982, pp. 222-226, 299n). Before World War I, Roger de la Fresnaye was a Cubist painter, a member of the Section d'Or and Puteaux group of artists. He joined the French army but contracted tuberculosis early on and was discharged in 1918. His health declined and by 1922 he had ceased to paint but continued to draw. Most of the works in this portfolio, representing this last phase of his career, are figure drawings and studies, with a few still life works. He had abandoned, for the most part, the Cubist style of his earlier work in favor of a highly sensuous, linear lyricism.

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