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Hartley Entire Collection

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

There are three periods during Hartley's career when he focused intensely on drawings of the human figure: 1908 (as with this example and the next one, MHMC 2007.8.2); 1922-23 when he was in Berlin; and in 1940-42 (see the many examples in the MHMC). From May through November, 1908 Hartley lived in North Lovell, Maine, during which time he executed an extraordinary number of quick study figure drawings: at least sixteen of Maine woodsmen like this one and MHMC 2007.8.2; seventeen figure sketches of old men and women; and twenty self-portraits—all in a similarly expressionistic, abstracted graphic style. The woodcutters, sawyers, men with axes and levers are action studies; the men are seen from behind or heads face down or away; clothing is undefined. Their identity is entirely determined by their activity.

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