Was Hartley influenced by Munch? I see some resemblances.
Their treatment of paint is quite similar, isn't it? Munch was very influential in the development of German Expressionism, which was one of Hartley's primary artistic influences, along with other European avant-garde movements like Cubism.
If you're looking at Hartley's "The Last Look of John Donne," he is definitely using paint in an expressionist way that draws on artists like Munch. For instance, his strokes are bold, broad, and simplified, and meant to express emotion.
Thank you! I lived many years in Munich and I am familiar with German Expressionism. To be honest I have to thank my boyfriend, who immediately found the resemblance with Munch’s work.
Who is Marsden Hartley?
Hartley was an American Modernist painter who was working in the early-to-mid-20th century alongside artists like Georgia O'Keeffe, Max Weber, and Gaston Lachaise.
Hartley, like many of his contemporaries, was known for his emphasis on essential form (like the simplified shapes you see here), expressive lines, and bold colors.
There is another example that's even more typical of his work on view on the 5th floor. It's called Painting No. 48.
How does this work relate Hartley's other work on view, "The Last Look of John Donne?"
"Painting No. 48," is a much earlier work, completed in 1915 as opposed to 1940 for "John Donne." Here, Hartley is still working in a primarily abstract style. He uses color and shape to convey emotion as opposed to a more representational style.
However, both pieces do share Hartley's characteristic sense of mysticism. While abstract, with its haloes of light and undulating forms, there is something spiritual about "Painting No. 48." Meanwhile, the otherworldly blank gaze of cleric and metaphysical poet John Donne speaks to an artist literally peering into the celestial realm.