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Painting No. 48

Marsden Hartley

American Art

On View: American Identities: A New Look, American Art Galleries, 5th Floor, Beyond Borders and Boundaries, 20th and 21st Centuries, 5th Floor
A member of New York's cultural vanguard in the early decades of the twentieth century, Marsden Hartley embraced a modernist style long before many of his American peers. With the support of Alfred Stieglitz, a progressive photographer and gallery owner, Hartley spent the years between 1912 and 1915 in Paris and Berlin, where he was exposed to the latest artistic trends of Cubism and Expressionism. This painting displays these influences in its vibrant colors, loose brushwork, and arrangement of abstract, geometric forms. The numeral 8 appears prominently in the composition and seems to explode into the foreground. According to the artist, the picture represents the mystical embodiment of "eight," a number generally associated with spiritual transcendence. Although Hartley offered no additional explanation, hints of his experience of pre-World War I Germany emerge in motifs that suggest the insignia and epaulets of soldiers' uniforms and the brash sounds of military bands.
MEDIUM Oil on canvas
DATES 1913
DIMENSIONS 47 3/16 x 47 3/16in. (119.9 x 119.9cm) frame: 48 7/16 x 48 7/16 x 2 in. (123 x 123 x 5.1 cm)  (show scale)
CREDIT LINE Dick S. Ramsay Fund
RIGHTS STATEMENT No known copyright restrictions
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CAPTION Marsden Hartley (American, 1877-1943). Painting No. 48, 1913. Oil on canvas, 47 3/16 x 47 3/16in. (119.9 x 119.9cm). Brooklyn Museum, Dick S. Ramsay Fund, 58.158
IMAGE overall, 58.158_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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