Sea Movement–Green and Blue

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Sea Movement–Green and Blue, 1923

Watercolor with wiping, and fabricated charcoal, over graphite, on thick, slightly textured, off-white wove paper (all edges trimmed), hinged to wood-pulp board, faced with cream paper, gilt with silver leaf, in original frame
429 x 521 mm
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.564

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

Mark Island, notable for its lighthouse, signals the passage from Penobscot Bay to Stonington Harbor. For this watercolor, Marin started his sketch of the island in graphite rather than charcoal, allowing for greater precision. Yet he playfully set it against the mountainous profile of Mount Desert, a view that could not in reality have been seen from the same vantage point. Marin employed a particularly expressionistic handling of watercolor here: contours are jagged and black, and the paint is heavily manipulated. An electric blue sky, animated by circular wiping, is energized by the single line of yellow marking the contour of the island. The artist’s passionate orchestration of movement, color, and mood map the fluctuation of a turbulent sea, while the reflective silver frame and mount contribute to the sense of dynamism and excitement.

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