(American, born January 4, 1877–died September 2, 1943) was a renowned essayist, poet, and Modernist painter. He is perhaps best known for his Dogtown
series of paintings, as well as for his book of poetry entitled Twenty-five Poems
. Hartley was born into a large family in which he was the youngest of nine children. He was born in Lewiston, ME, where his family stayed until moving to Cleveland, OH. While there, Hartley attended the Cleveland School of Art. At the age of 22, Hartley chose to study with William Merritt Chase
at the New York School of Art. Hartley also attended the National Academy of Design.
During his stay in Manhattan, Hartley befriended Albert Pinkham Ryder
, who inspired Hartley to see his art in a more spiritual sense. In 1908, Hartley moved to Lovell, ME, to live on an abandoned farm. During his time at the farm, Hartley produced what he considered his first mature paintings. Art promoter Alfred Stieglitz
was impressed with the paintings, and helped Hartley stage his first solo art exhibition.
In 1912, Hartley went to Europe, where he befriended various artists and writers who were associated with Gertrude Stein. With the encouragement of the people he met in Paris, Hartley decided to pursue writing in addition to his painting. In 1913, Hartley moved to Berlin, where his work was greatly influenced by abstract art, as well as German Expressionism. 1913 also marked the year that Hartley’s earliest Berlin paintings were shown at the Armory Show in New York. In 1914, Hartley painted one of his most notable works, Portrait of a German Officer
In 1916, Hartley briefly moved back to the United States, before returning to Europe, where he remained from 1921 to 1930. After permanently returning to the United States, he lived in various places, including New Mexico, New York, California, and, eventually, Maine. He remained in Maine, and became part of the Regionalist movement. Hartley was also known for his story Cleophas and His Own: A North Atlantic Tragedy.
The artist died on September 2, 1943.