American Indian Symbols
Oil on canvas
39 1/4 x 39 1/4 in.
u.c. in graphite on wood plaque attached to stretcher: MARSDEN HARTLEY \ EST NO 223C C-10856
[removed] label in ink: TR 7101
[removed] printed label: APG 5441
[removed] printed label: APG 14669D
[removed] printed label: [H & A logo] HIRSCHL & ADLER \ Galleries inc. \ 21 East 70th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021 \ ARTIST: Marsden Hartley [typewritten] \ NUMBER: APG 5441 [typewritten] \ TITLE: American Indian Symbols [typewritten and underlined] \ MEDIUM: oil on canvas [typewritten] \ SIZE: 39 x 39 in. [typewritten] \ DATE:
[removed] printed label: [H & A logo] HIRSCHL & ADL [torn] \ Galleries inc. \ 21 East 70th Street, New York, N.Y. [torn] \ [torn]: Marsden Hartley \ [torn]MBER: APG 11345D [typewritten] \ TITLE: Ame[torn]an Indi[torn] [typewritten and underlined] \ M[torn] Oil [torn] [typewritten]
[removed] printed label: [H & A logo] Hirschl & Adler \ Galleries, Inc. \ 21 East 70th Street, New York, N.Y. 10021 \ ARTIST: Marsden Hartley \ (1877-1943) \ NUMBER: APG 14669D \ TITLE: American Indian Symbols [underlined] \ MEDIUM: Oil on canvas \ SIZE: 39 x 39 inches \ DATE:
[removed] printed label: M "Pop Art & the Amer. Tradition" [typewritten] \ April 8 - May 9, 1965 [typewritten] \ Hartley AMERICAN INDIAN SYMBOLS [typewritten] \ Le[n]t by John Brady, Jr. \ Des Moines, Iowa [typewritten] \ MILWAUKEE ART CENTER \ 750 N. LINCOLN MEMORIAL DRIVE, MILWAUKEE 2, WISCONSIN
[removed] label in ink: Collection Pa[torn] \ American \ Indian \ Symbols
Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
While living in Berlin, Germany, in 1914, Hartley developed a progressive style in a series he called his “Amerika” paintings—abstract compositions incorporating American Indian motifs. Using chiefs’ blankets, headdresses, shields, and tipis, the artist reinterpreted them in brightly colored rhythmic patterns. The shape of the centralized tipi in this work from the series, repeated on each side of the canvas, centers the recurring designs in the image, including the wheel-like stars at the top.
Hartley created this work for a German audience fascinated by the pageantry of Wild West shows and American Indian culture. The black-and-white checked banner on the right side of the canvas refers to the German military. A few months after the artist finished this painting, Germany declared war on Russia and World War I began.