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Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy

A work made of oil on hardboard.

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  • A work made of oil on hardboard.




Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943)

About this artwork

“I have for the first time since 1922 a real live model a magnificent young feller… . His body is so fine and dear I could work almost without end from him.” So wrote Marsden Hartley about Lionel Daigle, a French-Canadian boxer from the town of Madawaska, Maine, who modeled for a series of paintings by the artist. A Maine native himself, Hartley drew upon local types at this time to create a mythic view of the state’s inhabitants as rugged individualists. Hartley delighted in painting the man’s body, which allowed him to express his own sexuality. He emphasized Daigle’s strong physique, exaggerating his anatomy and originally painting him nude (subsequently adding the brief covering). Ironically, critics in the 1940s applauded the work as a display of heteronormative masculinity.


On View, Gallery 265


Arts of the Americas


Marsden Hartley


Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on hardboard


Signed, inscribed, and dated verso: Madawaska--Acadian / Light-Heavy / Marsden Hartley / 1940.


101.6 × 76.2 cm (40 × 30 in.)

Credit Line

Bequest of A. James Speyer

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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