Nudes in Sea

View enlargement
Email to a friend
Print this page

John Marin
American, 1870-1953

Nudes in Sea, 1940

Watercolor with blotting, wiping, and scraping, and black crayon, with brown colored pencil, on heavyweight, moderately textured, ivory wove paper (all edges trimmed), in original frame
391 x 533 mm
Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949.572

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

Some of Marin’s Cape Split seascapes incorporate voluptuous female nudes, who swim, wade, and sun themselves on rocks. His models included his wife and the couple’s neighbor, though many compositions were clearly imagined. When he started this watercolor, he addressed the seascape first, leaving the seven female forms in reserve. Marin later fleshed them out in pink, with darker red shading. He used black crayon to define the figures’ broken contours, underscoring each nude with a heavy, shiny black line to anchor the bodies on the rocks. Two horizontal lines in the sky seem to symbolize the unity of ocean and women in this world of abundant beauty.

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