Posts Tagged ‘John Marin’

John Marin (1870-1954) painted his courageous watercolors in New York and Maine.  I always think of the moders as courageous because they were born into the staid, cluttered, dusty, repressed mores and fearful aesthetics of Victorianism and managed to break the bars of that cage.  They thumbed their noses at stiff conventions and instead duked it out with the energy of the internal combustion engine, the theory of relativity and the adventure of self-awareness.  John Marin rescued watercolor from the lace-fringed hands of genteel ladies and from the “it’s only a preliminary sketch” bin.  In his hands, watercolor becomes wild and impulsive.  His sturdy, rugged watercolor paper looks like a building material and it allows him to drag his wide brush so that the effect is rugged and rushed.  No time for pretty, for making nice.  This new, modern life offered too many possibilities, too many things to explore and understand.  If, while looking at Marin’s watercolors, you start humming George Gershwin, that’s only appropriate.  That hustle-bustle of Fifth and 42nd is right there in Marin’s urgent blobs and dashes.  In his mid-30’s he moved to Main and studied the sea with the same energetic eye.

This Sunday, the 17th, will be the last day to catch the John Marin show at the Art Institute.  I’m going to see this show again, for the third time, in a couple of days.  It’s a Must See. Postpone whatever you need to, but go see the John Marin watercolors…through the glass doors, past the Buddha, on the left….ahhhh….

Shown above:  The Red Sun—Brooklyn Bridge, 1922


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