The Green Sea – Movement – Stonington, Maine

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

The Green Sea – Movement – Stonington, Maine, 1921

Watercolor with wiping and charcoal on thick (estimated), slightly textured, ivory wove paper, hinged to paperboard, faced with ivory wove (estimated) paper, gilt with gold leaf (top and right edges trimmed), in original frame
413 x 495 mm; 578 x 645 mm (mount)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.560

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

An early instance of Marin’s changing framing aesthetic can be seen in his handling of this watercolor, which was adhered to a gilded mount and then fitted in a spare gilded frame. This approach, which left plenty of space around the sheet, emphasizes the artwork’s materiality, an important concept for Marin. Unlike the white enamel frames he had favored throughout the previous decade, his gilded mounts and frames of the early 1920s were not intended to harmonize with his art. Rather, the use of gold was meant to be visually jarring, here drawing the viewer into the violent sea and proving the strength of the composition.

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