West Shore Docks, Weehawken, New Jersey

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

West Shore Docks, Weehawken, New Jersey, 1910

Watercolor with blotting, wiping and scraping, on lightweight, slightly textured, ivory wove paper (top, right and left edges trimmed), laid down on white card
276 x 218 mm (max)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1956.374

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

Upon his return to Weekawken in 1910, Marin created a work in which he handled watercolor in the fluid, flooded manner of his Tyrolean landscapes. Like those mountain scenes, this watercolor was constructed in horizontal bands, with an expanse of paper left nearly empty in the middle ground, where the pale stains of wiped, blotted color evoke the dull glare of the river’s surface. This free wet-into-wet application appears in numerous other Weehawken images in which Marin allowed his colors to bleed into each other, giving the scenes of river commerce the soft glow of wintry dawn light. Here Marin’s vantage point high on the riverbank encouraged him to flatten the composition; the shapes of the Weehawken piers extend upward along the picture plane rather than leading the eye into deep space.

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