Street Scene

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Street Scene, 1910

Watercolor with rewetting and blotting, and graphite, on lightweight, slightly textured, off-white wove paper, laid down on ivory wove card
259 x 199 mm; 337 x 270 mm (secondary support)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1956.369

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

Looking west down Wall Street, Trinity Church’s purple facade and spire appear beyond the columned Federal Hall. Marin made these landmarks identifiable, adding color over his graphite sketch with broad but carefully applied strokes. He used a heavy blue pigment that settled into the low points of the paper’s surface and lightly blotted the wet blue wash at upper left, removing just enough color from the high points to accentuate the grainy pattern left behind. At lower left, he used more water, rewetting and then blotting his colors to approximate the obliterating effect of steam emanating from street vents. Using a soft, dark pencil, he outlined the structures and delineated architectural details, adding heads and shoulders to blue dabs of wash to transform them into figures.

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