Portrait of a German Officer is a striking oil painting created by American modernist Marsden Hartley in 1914. The abstract image portrays an Imperial German officer standing rigidly, fashioned entirely of military decorations and badges of rank. This artwork is also a commemorative piece in honor of Karl von Freyburg, who was one of the first casualties during World War I.
Hartley’s artistic technique involved the amalgamation of Cubism and German Expressionism to create a unique composition. The painting’s dramatic color palette and emotional brushwork produce the collagelike appearance that characterizes it as an excellent example of his modernist style. It is filled with reproductions of German military emblems, flags, and symbols such as the Iron Cross.
Currently held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Portrait Of A German Officer stands out as one of Hartley’s best works due to its representation and context within history. Moreover, this piece encapsulates significant cultural variance from different countries facing conflict during World War I; hence it remains an iconic portrait today.