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We see Hartley’s delicate best with several of the few remaining reverse-painting-on-glass florals – his meaningfully present still lifes of Audubon-esque dead birds or an indulgently tasty-red, still-steaming lobster.He also gives us a wonderful 1938 portrait of Albert Pinkham Ryder as the apogee of a coastal Mainer – spare, humble and salty.Greatness is not simply a quality one carries around as a personality trait: It is an earned quality, interwoven with actions, outcomes and the echoes of influence.It’s a question for history – not something that can be seen in a narcissist’s hand mirror, however much it glows.These images of Maine’s powerful, mysterious and magisterial landscape are something rarely matched in history, though they are a conscious echo of Cezanne’s canvases of Mont Sainte-Victoire and Hokusai’s views of Mount Fuji.To watch Hartley’s coastal waves crashing is to fall, mesmerized, into a knowable place of our own.The model’s body is that of a taut, tight and tanned young man, far more powerful than Cezanne’s boy bather, however seminal.

), as well as his specific references, such as in the Smithsonian’s 1940-41 “Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach.” The connection to Cezanne is undeniable, yet the update could hardly be more Maine – or more Hartley.

Beside Hartley, Homer’s brush, though bold and brilliant, feels a bit staged and (dare I say it? Hartley is the real thing, the ultimate Maine painter, the Mountain King.

“Marsden Hartley’s Maine” surprises from the start with its dedication to Cezanne and post-Impressionism.

Its accomplishment lies not with the obvious aspects of ideal human physical attraction, but in the subtleties of the brush on canvas: the softness of the facial stubble and a deliriously sensuous stroke of blue on the model’s G-string-like athletic supporter.

“Marsden Hartley’s Maine” is loaded with the artist’s greatest coastal paintings, wave after stolidly spartan wave.

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