Marsden Hartley

Madawaska, Acadian Light-Heavy, Third Arrangement

Not on view



Oil on composition board

Overall: 27 7/8 × 21 3/4in. (70.8 × 55.2 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of Nina and Herman Schneider, Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, and Dr. Meyer A. Pearlman by exchange, purchase by exchange, and purchase with funds from the Director's Discretionary Fund

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate


Marsden Hartley spent time during his final years in Maine, the state of his birth, and this painting, one of a series, portrays the French-Canadian boxer who worked as a model for the sketching and painting classes that Hartley taught at the Bangor Society of Art in the winter of 1939-1940. One of the most important early American modernists, Hartley is best known for his abstract paintings of the 1910s, but the representational canvases of his later life—depicting the rocky New England landscape as well as its hardy inhabitants—retain the simplified geometries of the work for which he gained initial recognition. Shown in three-quarter-length against a monochrome background, the light heavyweight boxer’s features are so reduced as to appear almost primitivized, a distillation of forms to basic shapes. The oval shapes of his head and torso and his triangular nose recall the work of French artist Paul Cézanne. Hartley’s strong modeling and compositional symmetry conveys the quiet determination and rugged—even hypermasculine—strength he saw in his subject.