Feb 20, 2020
Feb 20, 2020

Deer Island

Deer Island


John Marin

(American, 1870–1953)

Watercolor on moderately thick, rough-textured wove paper

Image and Sheet: 41.5 x 48.9 cm (16 5/16 x 19 1/4 in.)

Nancy F. and Joseph P. Keithley Collection Gift 2020.137


Did you know?

Of Deer Isle, the Maine locale where he made this watercolor, John Marin wrote that it is "a place of lovely spots and bad spots."


One of America’s most important watercolorists, John Marin repeatedly challenged accepted ideas about what the medium could do, taking an improvisational approach to color, paint handling, perspective, and movement. This watercolor was made during Marin’s first summer in Maine, 1914, a place that would become central to his watercolor practice for years to come. It was made on Deer Isle, a locale that provided sweeping vistas over Stonington Harbor and toward Mark Island in the distance. With his characteristic variety of marks, combining bold dashes with a dry brush in the lower right with transparent washes in the distant sky, Marin's goal was to capture the spontaneous feeling of a place. The shape of a figure—probably Marin's wife Marie—is barely discernible in the lower left as it blends with the island's vegetation.

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