Marsden Hartley (January 4, 1877 - September 2, 1943) was an American Modernist painter and poet in the early 20th century. Hartley was born in Lewiston, Maine, USA. He began his art training at the Cleveland Institute of Art after moving to Cleveland, Ohio in 1892.
At the age of 22, he moved to New York City, where he attended the National Academy of Design and studied painting at the Art Students League of New York under William Merritt Chase. A great admirer of Albert Pinkham Ryder, Hartley would visit Ryder's studio in Greenwich Village as often as possible. While in New York, he came to the attention of Alfred Stieglitz and became associated with Stieglitz' 291 Gallery Group. Hartley had his first major exhibition at the 291 Gallery in 1909 and another in 1912. He was in the cultural vanguard, in the same milieu as Gertrude Stein, Hart Crane, Charles Demuth, Georgia O'Keeffe, Fernand Leger, Ezra Pound, among many others.
Hartley, who was gay, painted Portrait of a German Officer (1914), which was an ode to Karl von Freyburg, a Prussian lieutenant of whom he became enamored before von Freyburg's death in World War I.