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Marsden Hartley: American Modernist by…
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Marsden Hartley: American Modernist

by Elizabeth Mankin Kornhauser

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0300097670, Paperback)

It was Marsden Hartley's misfortune to be a leading American artist whose heart was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A gay man from small-town New England who was enchanted by the urban pleasures of Berlin, he developed a personal symbolism based on German military imagery--on the eve of World War I. A mystically inclined modernist whose paintings grew increasingly stark and bleak, he was overshadowed by popular and critical taste for sunny Americana. In Marsden Hartley, insightful essays by 10 scholars illuminate aspects of the artist's life and work. Wanda Corn explains how the German taste for stereotypical depictions of Native Americans influenced Hartley’s vividly patterned "Amerika" paintings. Amy Ellis discusses the influence of playwright Eugene O’Neill, whom the artist--who also wrote poetry and essays--befriended in 1916 and whose tragic sense of life he came to share. Two decades later, after three members of a fishing family he knew died at sea, Hartley would paint a powerful series of stylized portraits. Bruce Robertson explores a remarkable self-portrait from 1939 ("Sustained Comedy"), in which arrows pierce the artist's eyes and open doors on the artist's chest reveal the crucified Christ. Other contributors write about Hartley's relationship with New England and with homoerotic culture. More than 200 illustrations, the majority in color, display the elemental vigor that makes Hartley an American original. The book accompanies an exhibition held at The Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C. (through September 7, 2003) and at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri. (October 11, 2003 to January 11, 2004). —Cathy Curtis

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:35 -0400)

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