American painter Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) moved to Berlin in 1913. It was a highly productive period in which he produced some of his best known works, exhibiting them at the First (and last) German Autumn Salon as well as the epochal Armory Show of that year. It was also an era of sabre-rattling from Germany’s ever-present military. Hartley’s artistic response was puzzling, to say the least: he filled his canvases with festive assortments of regimental insignia, no more warlike than a Dufy regatta. Portrait of a German Officer records his particular attachment to one Karl von Freyburg, who fell in France in October 1914 (one of two paintings here to bear his initials). An exhibition beginning this week at Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie brings together paintings from Hartley’s German period, which ended in December 1915.
Djuna Barnes | drawings