KvF II, the second of Indiana’s Hartley Elegies, is a tribute to the relationship between the painter Marsden Hartley and the German soldier Karl von Freyburg. Indiana, by painting the names of the two men in a large central ring, links them directly and reveals what is veiled behind symbols in Hartley’s War Motif series (1914). KvF II, unlike KvF I, is not based on a single painting, but includes motifs from several of Hartley’s paintings, motifs Indiana occasionally reinvests with autobiographical meaning.
Numbers, a common and significant motif in both artists’ work due to their shared fascination with numerology, appear more prominently in the second of the Elegies. The numeral 6, which appears within the ring, holds great significance to Indiana, with its close association to his father. His father was born in June, the sixth month, worked for the Phillips 66 oil company and disappeared behind the Route 66 sign when he abandoned his family. The numeral 6 also references Hartley, who died at the age of 66. As in the first Elegy, KvF II includes the numeral 24; here it appears below the Iron Cross, the medal von Freyburg received just prior to his death at the age of 24. The work also incorporates the numeral 8, which Hartley included throughout the War Motif series.
In KvF II Indiana deviates from the consistent color scheme of Hartley’s paintings. While the red, white and blue are drawn from the original works, the particular combination, along with the stars and stripes painted within the ring, notably reference the United States flag. This underlines that while Hartley’s works were a tribute to a German officer, Indiana’s Elegies are his homage to an American painter. The color scheme can also be seen as a reference to Indiana, who consistently stresses his own identity as an American painter.