Marsden Hartley Adelard the Drowned, Master of the “Phantom” 1938-1939
Moving first to Nova Scotia, and then back to Maine in 1935, Hartley renewed his earlier fascination with individual subjectivity, exploring American transcendentalism and Jamesian radical empiricism through the everyday scenes of a fishing village. The works from this period employ a crude realism closer to American Regionalism than to modernist abstraction.
In this style, Hartley created one of his strongest images in Adelard the Drowned, Master of the “Phantom” (1938-1939). Based on the death of his close friend Alty Mason, the painting is a touching portrait. Seated with hands crossed, Mason’s open shirt and rugged form are softened by a single white flower placed at his temple.