Approaching Fog

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Approaching Fog, 1952

Watercolor with blotting, wiping and traces of scraping, and with brush and black ink, graphite, fabricated charcoal, and touches of opaque watercolor on medium-weight, rough-textured, off-white wove paper (four edges trimmed)
375 x 508 mm
Suzanne Searle Dixon Endowment, Olivia Shaler Swan Memorial Fund, William H. Tuthill Fund, 2009.197

© 2016 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

This late watercolor looks outward from Marin’s home toward the tide marker rock, coastal ledges, and waters of Pleasant Bay. A somber portrait of the sea by one who understood its character intimately, the work alludes to a gradual envelopment by nothingness, aging, and death. Yet it possesses energy and excitement: splashes of green and red shimmer though the gray mists, while calligraphic black lines activate the surf and air. These marks, some applied with a medical syringe, reflect the artist’s awareness of recent developments in Action Painting. Here he blotted, scraped, and wiped pigment, combining transparent and opaque watercolor, brush and black ink, and fabricated charcoal.