About this artwork
Late in life, Marsden Hartley returned to his native Maine and produced a series of heroic figure paintings.
Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy is one of several studies of athletes that he made for a gymnasium mural. Hartley particularly favored this model, a French-Canadian light heavyweight boxer. He explained, “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.” Hartley delighted in the boxer’s strong physique, exaggerating his anatomy and painting the background a deep red to heighten the impression of his vitality. Hartley’s figure paintings enjoyed great success. Critics in the early 1940s praised them for their depiction
of strong masculinity, willfully ignoring their controversial homoerotic undertones.
- Marsden Hartley
- Madawaska—Acadian Light-Heavy
- United States
- Oil on hardboard
- Signed, inscribed, and dated verso: Madawaska--Acadian / Light-Heavy / Marsden Hartley / 1940.
- 101.6 × 76.2 cm (40 × 30 in.)
- Bequest of A. James Speyer