Portrait of a German Officer (1914) by Marsden Hartley

Portrait of a German Officer - Marsden Hartley - 1914

Artwork Information

TitlePortrait of a German Officer
ArtistMarsden Hartley
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions173.4 x 105.1 cm
Art MovementAbstract Art
Current LocationMetropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, NY, US

About Portrait of a German Officer

“Portrait of a German Officer” is an oil on canvas artwork by Marsden Hartley, created in the year 1914. This abstract art piece measures 173.4 cm in height and 105.1 cm in width. Despite its designation as a portrait, the work is highly abstract, embodying the figurative genre, and is a part of the collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art located in New York City, NY, USA.

The artwork itself is a complex composition of geometric shapes and symbols intertwined with bold colors and patterns. At the forefront, an amalgamation of militaristic motifs including flags, badges, and insignias alludes to the figure of a German officer, although not depicted through traditional portraiture. The painted surface is dominated by a dynamic array of stripes, checks, and color blocks that converge to form an intense visual rhythm. The inclusion of numbers and letters, such as “24” and “KvF,” provide further details and context that contribute to the overall military theme of the piece.

A vivid palette marked by reds, blacks, whites, and blues carries strong connotations of the German national colors and military regalia, while the use of abstract symbolism in lieu of realism challenges the viewer to interpret the identity and narrative behind the officer referenced in the title. This work reflects the avant-garde movement of its time, where artists were embracing abstraction to convey complex emotional and conceptual ideas, diverging sharply from representational art.

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