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Hartley Entire Collection

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[Two Standing Male Figures]

Marsden Hartley, American, (Lewiston, ME, January 4, 1877 - September 2, 1943, Ellsworth, ME)

The focus of the figure sketched from behind centers on his huge back. The man on the right is sketched in profile, intentionally, it seems to display his genitals protruding under his bathing suit and emphasized by shading.

Commentary for drawings 1955.1.68-1955.1.77: This group of drawings is a sub-series of the Old Orchard Beach, clearly executed at the same time (1940) but larger in size (9 x 11 ? in.), from a tan spiral sketchbook. Unlike the smaller drawings done at Old Orchard, these are unsigned.

Taking advantage of the larger size paper, Hartley removes the beach context and isolating the figures and allowing them to fill the page in a frank display of male physicality with an overlay of eroticism: musculature and genitals. As is common among body builders, the neck, shoulders, arms, and pectoral muscles have been so fully developed that the heads of these figure are disproportionately small.

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