Here Hartley has abstracted the sails, hull, and rudder of a boat into a compact series of geometric shapes, all arranged parallel to the picture surface. The image is insistently flat, and yet the overlapping planes slyly hint at spatial recession. The sails have the effect of placid semaphores; the circular motif, rendered in stark black and white, provides a touch of drama. A variation of this scheme, painted as a companion piece, hangs on the same wall. Hartley painted both pictures in Provincetown, Massachusetts, during the second half of 1916. He departed for Bermuda in December of that year—accompanied in both locations by his friend artist Charles Demuth.
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