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[Group of Five Standing Figures]

1930s
Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943)

Notes
3 drawings in this series (1955.1.1; 1955.1.2 and 1955.1.3): The three ink drawings in this series appear to be dancers or performers in costume. Throughout his life Hartley loved all manner of pageantry and frequented music halls, Vaudeville, theatre, the circus wherever he found them, including Lewiston, Maine, New York, Paris, and Berlin. These three drawing of dance entertainers might have been done in any number of places and at different points in his career. While the loose, expressive execution resembles more the ink drawings from Dogtown Common from the 1930s, and the V-shaped torsos and angular shoulders and arms relate to his figure drawings from the 1940s, these three sketches are unique among Hartley's figure drawings and cannot not be dated precisely. Whatever the date, his love of these popular entertainments comes across in this series through lively and expressive hand and arm gestures and a contrast between the flounces of the ladies' skirts and sharp angularity of noses, chins, shoulders, arms and knee joints. Hartley's execution of these sketches is loose and energetic, quick sketches capturing the essence of motion and a moment in time.

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