JONATHANWEINBERG:So many of his paintings are about death. it seems that Hartley really only can admit to loving another man when that person has died.
ADAMWEINBERG: Jonathan Weinberg is a painter, art historian and author of the book Speaking for Vice: Homosexuality and the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley and the First American Avant-Garde.
JONATHANWEINBERG:And that doesn’t surprise me, actually, because in fact in our culture and in Hartley’s culture back, back in the teens, the time when you could admit to a man loving another man is when that person had died. At a funeral.
But, it’s also interesting that Paul Fusill, who wrote a wonderful book called The Great War and Modern Memory, talks about World War I itself in terms of the kind of— emotional relationships between men that were sort of forged during war.
And then he points to a severe dichotomy. On the one hand, sanctioned, public mass murder. On the other, unlawful, secret, individual love. And I think this dichotomy is built into Hartley’s war motif series, and Painting, Number Five.