Sea, Green and Brown, Maine

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John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Sea, Green and Brown, Maine, 1937

Watercolor with wiping and scraping, and with opaque watercolor, over graphite, on medium-weight (estimated), moderately textured, ivory wove paper (all edges trimmed), laid down on wood-pulp board faced with ivory wove (estimated) paper, gilt with silver leaf, and backed with dark red wove paper, in original frame
387 x 534 mm (sheet); 427 x 566 mm (secondary support); 503 x 643 mm (mount)
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.571

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

This unusually somber watercolor must have been painted indoors on a dark day or possibly at nightfall, when the sea appeared almost black. Marin captured this view from the glass porch of the Cape Split house at high tide, when the large triangular rock known as the tide marker was barely visible; the tip of a coastal ledge juts into the picture at the left. The artist here used directional wiping, blending in opaque watercolor. Movement and brightness were introduced by scraping away pigment to reveal the white paper, conjuring the breaking surf playing about the submerged rocks.

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