Feb 20, 2020
Feb 20, 2020

The White Moon, Sailboat

The White Moon, Sailboat

c. 1922

John Marin

(American, 1870–1953)

Watercolor with scrubbing and blotting over charcoal on thick, rough-textured wove paper

Image and Sheet: 39.1 x 47.5 cm (15 3/8 x 18 11/16 in.)

Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.134

Catalogue raisonné: Reich 114, illus.


Did you know?

John Marin had a passion for boats and adopted the two-masted sailboat as a kind of personal talisman.


One of America's most important watercolor practitioners, John Marin spent every summer in Maine from 1914 through 1928, and the state's coastline became a central focus of his work. The White Moon, Sailboat exemplifies his experimental approach and deft handling of the medium. Here the sky and ocean share the same purplish-blue wash, while a jagged coastal rock ledge cuts through the sky. Marin achieved the sharp edge by combining a black chalk outline with his astounding control of the watercolor wash, creating the effect of a shadow along the edge. This hard element is countered by the washy swirls that make up the rock face. The moon and the sailboat each reveal where Marin reserved the white of the paper by controlling the wash, or by carefully removing it from the face of the paper.

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