American, (1870-1953)
Marin Island, Small Point, Maine Series No. 14, 1928
watercolor on paper
signed and dated lower right "Marin 28", signed and titled on the reverse "Small Point - ME 28 Marin Island", signed on reverse "Marin", numbered in pencil on the reverse "29641"

watercolor on paper
16 1/4 x 20 3/4 inches (sight)

  • Provenance: An American Place, New York, New York; Kennedy Galleries Inc., New York, New York; A Connecticut estate.
  • Exhibited: Ogunquit, Maine, The Ogunquit Museum of American Art, "John Marin: Maine Watercolors," July 1 - August 13, 1997.

    Other notes: A copy of a label from Alfred Stieglitz' An American Place Gallery, removed from the reverse of this work when it was reframed accompanies the lot.

    Framed dimensions: 28 x 32 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches

    John Marin was born in Rutherford, New Jersey in 1870. His mother died shortly after he was born and he was raised by his relatives in Weehawken – right across the Hudson from New York City. Marin attended the Stevens Institute of Technology for one year and worked as an professional architect for six years before deciding to pursue a career as an artist.

    From 1899-1901 he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where he met Arthur Beecher Carles, a lifelong friend. He also studied at the Art Students League in New York. Like many artists of the period, Marin went to Paris to study at the Academie Julian. He returned to New York in 1909 influenced by Cezanne and the avant garde fauvist and cubist movements.

    Photographer Edward Steichen had seen Marin's works at the Salon d'Automne in 1909 and introduced him to Alfred Stieglitz who was also in Paris. Marin's work impressed Stieglitz, a noted American photographer and art dealer, who hosted Marin's first exhibition at his New York gallery known as "291." Stieglitz became an important advocate for Marin's work and exhibited his works more than any other artist except Georgia O'Keeffe.

    By the early 1910s Marin had established himself in New York City and traveled regularly through New York state and New England. His style matured and he adapted the avant-garde European ideas that had impressed him into his own distinctive style. In 1912 Marin married and settled with his new family in Cliffside, New Jersey. In 1914, the couple made their first trip to Maine. Marin found a well of inspiration in Maine and would return annually.

    Marin typically painted en plein air, or outdoors, successfully capturing the fleeting atmosphere, changing water and moving light. He writes in a letter from Small Point, Maine, "Outdoor painting as such is just a Job–to get ahead down what's ahead of you—water you paint the way water moves—Rocks and soil you paint the way they were worked for their formation—Trees you paint the way trees grow. If you are more or less successful these paintings will look pretty well indoors for they have a certain rugged strength which will carry them off in a room–though they seemingly bear no relationship to the room."

    The present work depicts Marin Island, an island purchased by Marin shortly after his wedding. The island proved to be inhospitable for the family but it provided Marin with a subject he would return to on numerous occasions. A sticker from the back of the painting indicates that this work was exhibited at An American Place which was Stieglitz' last gallery. There, Stieglitz hosted annual exhibitions of works by Marin, O'Keefe and Arthur Dove.

    Tags: listed artist, works on paper, landscape, Maine coastal scene, modern / contemporary, 20th century
  • Condition: overall excellent condition with vibrant colors; pinholes in all four corners; slight toning to deckled edge of paper; hinged at the upper corners; additional photos available upon request
    Condition Report Note:
    We are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Shannon’s is merely a subjective qualified opinion. Frames on all paintings are sold "As Is". Frames may need some conservation. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD “AS IS” IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE. Thank you for your interest in our sale.

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