Judith Linhares on Marsden Hartley

Marsden Hartley, Madawaska-Acadian Light-Heavy, 1940, oil on hardboard, 40 x 30
Marsden Hartley, Madawaska-Acadian Light-Heavy, 1940, oil on hardboard, 40 x 30 inches

Judith Linhares writes about Marsden Hartley's painting Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy (1940).

Linhares observes: "The almond shaped eyes are outlined with light. This is a handsome face but the body is what Hartley wants me to focus on. His body in relationship to the frame of the painting leaves spaces that are small in relation to the mass of the figure... The paint is applied with directness and follows the contours of the form, adding to the man’s dramatic presence. Seeing version III of Acadian Light-Heavy at the new Whitney reminded me how you can know a great painting, but its presence will still surprise you... This great Marsden Hartley painting is not only a work of personal desire, it challenges social norms and contains mystery in the simplicity of its form. What is the place of the body in the imagination and what is its part in being human?"