Hartley leaves for Paris in April 1912. He meets Gertrude and Leo Stein, Picasso, Delaunay, Kupka and the others. It is in Paris that he falls in love with a young Prussian officer. He is initiated by his group of German friends to the spiritual arts of Kandinsky and of the Blaue Reiter and settles durably in Berlin.
Subject to all the influences as if he were still looking at 36 years old to construct his maturity, he is dazzled by Berlin which exudes a warm atmosphere so different from his cold former American landscapes and where young soldiers symbolize a vigorous homosexuality.
In Berlin, Hartley's art becomes abstract, with geometric shapes inspired by military parades. Explosive energies interact with a dominant figure that is a triangle or a mandorla and can represent the artist himself. The other elements may also be interpreted in many ways in the manner of Kandinsky's growing hermeticism and the shocks of colors are certainly influenced by Franz Marc.
On November 12 in New York, Sotheby's sells as lot 28 a Pre-War Pageant, oil on canvas painted in 1913, 106 x 86 cm including its artist's frame. The September 14 press release announces an estimate in the region of $ 30M.
Seeking happiness and wanting to express his introspection, Hartley does not appear as pro-German but as a naive, probably amazed by the realization of his own homosexuality. He did not understand in time that the pageants were preparing the war and hurriedly left Germany at the end of 1915.