Ragged Island, Maine

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Ragged Island, Maine, 1914

Watercolor with rewetting and blotting, over graphite, on moderately thick, slightly textured, off-white wove paper (top and left edges trimmed), in original frame
420 x 497 mm
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.555

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

This aptly named island—a mound of stone, pine, and rocky cliffs in Northeast Casco Bay, just a few miles west of Small Point—prompted Marin to move away from the literal representation of space. Without differentiating cliff from shoreline, the tipped-up composition provides no perspective, generating a sense of vertigo held in check by a peaceful blue sea. The sea was created by adding excess blue, then tilting the paper, encouraging the wash to pool and dry along the rocks. Marin emphasized the flat patterning of the composition by selecting a wide, flat frame for this work.

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