A seated male figure occupies the left side of the canvas and a collection of bodybuilding equipment fills the right side. This work relates to Hartley’s lifelong passion for the circus and is one of several works in his oeuvre that take performers as their subject.
This painting is also related to a series of some 16 nude drawings—12 male and four female nudes—done in Berlin. The Strong Man is the only painted nude in the series. The drawings include Female Nude, 1922–23, in the Whitney Museum of American Art and Seated Male Nude, 1923, a pastel, in the Detroit Institute of Art.
Mrs. Charles P. [Adelaide] Kuntz, Bronxville, NY;
[Sotheby’s, New York, April 17, 1975, lot 120];
Daniel A. Don, Chicago, IL;
By bequest to a Private Collection, c. 1980;
[Christie’s, New York, December 4, 2003, lot 111];
Private Collection, Texas;
[Owings-Dewey Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM];
Elizabeth McCausland Papers, Marsden Hartley Catalogue Raisonné: Oils, circa [1944-1964]. Box 14, Folder 25, ill. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
Mrs. Charles P. Kuntz Collection. Sotheby’s, New York. American 18th, 19th & 20th Century Paintings, Drawings, Watercolors & Sculpture. April 17, 1975, lot 120, ill.
Harnsberger, R. Scott. Four Artists of the Stieglitz Circle: A Sourcebook on Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, John Marin and Max Weber. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2002, p. 137.
Private Collection. Christie’s, New York. Important American Paintings, Drawings and Sculpture. December 4 2003, p. 161, lot 111, ill. p. 161.
Hole, Heather. “’America as Landscape’: Marsden Hartley and New Mexico, 1918-1924,” PhD dissertation, Princeton University, 2005, pp. 224-226.
Agee, William C. and Lewis Kachur. Masterpieces of American Modernism: From the Vilcek Collection. London: Merrell, 2013, pp. 27, 70-71, 266, ill. pp. 70-71.
O’Hern, John. “Modern Manor,” American Fine Art Magazine, September/October 2013, ill. p. 61.
Meleko Mokgosi receives the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise in Fine Arts for paintings that rely on intensive research, reflection, and conversation in order to address widespread misrepresentation of Africa and Africans, and to accurately portray the continent’s complex social and political realities.