The Brook

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

The Brook, 1910

Watercolor with rewetting, blotting, wiping, and touches of scraping, over touches of graphite, on thick, rough-textured, ivory wove paper (lower and right edges trimmed)
470 x 391 mm (max)
Helen Birch Bartlett Memorial Collection, 1926.218

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

In his watercolors of rushing streams made in the Austrian Tyrol, Marin denoted hovering mists and the free-flowing movement of water over rocks by adding layers of wet color to stain the paper and then wiping them away, creating soft, ghostly areas of almost subliminal color. He conjured the shape of a shrub by subtracting pigment, perhaps with the handle of his brush, adding touches of blue to draw the eye into the haze. Cementing his reputation as a “master of mists,” the Tyrol watercolors earned Marin many new admirers and are still counted among his most important watercolors.

— Exhibition label, John Marin's Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism, January 19-April 17, 2011, Galleries 124-127.