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Portrait of a German Officer by Marsden Hartley
Portrait of a German Officer by Marsden Hartley

Portrait of a German Officer, 1914

Marsden Hartley

This monumental painting is the centerpiece of a series that evokes the dynamism, pageantry, and danger of life in Berlin during World War I. The painting’s collage like appearance, dramatic color, and emotional brushwork attest to Hartley’s skillful synthesis of Cubism and German Expressionism. Hartley’s composition is an abstract portrait of Karl von Freyburg, a Prussian lieutenant whom the artist loved and who died in the war. Von Freyburg is portrayed symbolically with the initials, "K.v.F."; his regiment number, 4; his age at death, 24; and the Iron Cross that he received posthumously.

Credit
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Alfred Stieglitz Collection
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