Charles Kuntz was a very dear friend and contemporary of Marsden Hartley. These two artists' paths crossed in Aix-en-Provence between 1925 and 1928. Marsden Hartley was already an internationally known artist and poet, and Charles “Arlie” Kuntz was a young artist who was just beginning to make his own significant signature statement in large-scale expressionistic paintings.
In what seems to have been a chance encounter, Hartley met Kuntz and his wife, Adelaide Wallace Shaffer, in the South of France in 1925. By the time they met, Hartley, famous for his pre-World World I modernist paintings and poetry, was already a central figure of elite art circles in Paris, Berlin, and New York. Kuntz, trained at the National Academy and Art Students League, was similarly gearing up for an adventurous and promising life in art. It is the staggering achievement of Paul Cezanne that serendipitously linked the two artists. Already in possession of a Cezanne watercolor, the Kuntzes convinced Hartley to move to Paul Cezanne’s hometown in Aix-in-Provence. By the spring of 1927, all three had settled together in the heart of Aix, in the shadow of Cezanne’s beloved Mount St. Victoire.
There is no record, in fact, of Kuntz ever exhibiting in his lifetime. Fortunately, there are paintings to demonstrate his confident, energetic, and sensitive technical skill of direct painting, and his use of expansive white ground as a formal element of the composition.