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Painting No. 48

The number 8 seems to explode into the foreground, separating itself from a vibrant pattern of colors and shapes. Writing from Berlin (where he painted this work), Marsden Hartley revealed that the painting represented the mystical embodiment of "eight" (a number generally associated with transcendence from the material to the spiritual). Although he offered no additional explanation, hints of his experience of pre-World War I Germany emerge in the arrangement of forms that are suggestive of martial insignias and the brash sounds of military bands.

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