Marsden Hartley (1877-1943) is one of the underrated American painters and poets of the 20th century - his life experiences offering insight into both his work and time. This biography of Hartley looks at his life - as a lonely, introverted homosexual, given to great highs and mordant lows. Neglected during his life as much as critically praised, he was a man of many parts: a fine technician, a restless innovator, an intellectual who could theorize, but whose best art contradicted his theories; and an inveterate traveller. Born in Lewiston, Maine, he had an early love affair with Paris and European culture, before going on to live for periods in New York, Berlin, New Mexico, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, and finally back to New England. As an integral part of an artistic social scene, his story provides a substantial amount of information about art and its relation to American culture during the volatile first 40 years of the 20th century, a time when, in painting as well as in the other arts, Americans left behind their derivative and provincial sensibilities.