JOHN MARIN | STONINGTON WHARF, NO. 1 (RED AND BLUE, MAINE)
1870 - 1953
STONINGTON WHARF, NO. 1 (RED AND BLUE, MAINE)
signed Marin and dated 23 (lower right); also titled No. 1 Wharf/Stonington (on the reverse)
watercolor and charcoal on paper in an artist's painted frame
14 ⅛ by 17 ¾ inches (35.9 by 45.1 cm)
frame: 16 ⅝ by 20 ¾ inches (42.2 by 52.7 cm)
The sheet is hinged at the reverse upper corners and the edges are irregularly cut. Original artist pinholes are present at the corners. There are artist's watercolor washes and charcoal markings on the reverse. The original backing board bears an inscription "Georgia OKeeffe/from AS/1923" and "Red + Blue Maine/1923." The artist's frame is in original condition and retains scattered paint loss and scratches throughout.
In response to your inquiry, 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 Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
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 PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Alfred Stieglitz, New York
Georgia O'Keeffe, Abiquiu, New Mexico, 1946 (by descent)
By descent to the present owner
Sheldon Reich, John Marin: Catalogue Raisonné, vol. II, Tucson, Arizona, 1970, no. 23.54, p. 525, illustrated
Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art, Selections and Transformations: The Art of John Marin, January-April 1990, p. 12, illustrated pl. 6, p. 13
In 1919, John Marin spent the first of several summers in the village of Stonington, Maine, located on the southern portion of Deer Isle. In ensuing years, Marin referred to his time in Stonington as “this place of mine, a village, where clustered about you can see if you look dream houses of a purity of whiteness, of a loveliness of proportion, of a sparingness of sensitive detail, rising up out of the greenest of grass sward” (as quoted in Ruth E. Fine, John Marin, 1990, New York, p. 180).
During his summers in the village, Marin began to enclose his subject matter with ‘frames within frames.’ The artist, himself remarked: “When I got what I wanted, I nailed the stuff down in those frames” (as quoted in MacKinley Helm, John Marin, Boston, Massachusetts, 1948, p. 48). As demonstrated by the present work, Marin’s watercolors from the period are often surrounded by a dark band of color that anchors the subject to the page. According to the scholar Ruth E. Fine, “[Marin’s] propensity to control the edges of his work can be traced back to his etchings; he not only emphasizes plate edges by leaving a layer of ink on their bevels but also incorporated explicitly drawn margins” (John Marin, 1990, New York, p. 201).
By the early 1920s, Marin had purchased a house in Maine and subsequently began to pay close attention to architectural structures in his artistic compositions, like Stonington Wharf, No. 1 (Red and Blue, Maine). Of works from this series, Ruth E. Fine notes: “Something else that the Stonington-Deer Isle watercolors introduce is Marin’s approach to the town as distinct from the city. The little pointed white buildings are cubic boxes that define space and provide a geometric foil to the surrounding landscape and sea. In many of the Stonington watercolors the town and the water interact [...]. One suspects that Marin’s examination of the low, tightly packed Maine villages is one of the factors that about this time shifted his attention away from the towers of New York City and onto the streets. Marin himself commented that he was ‘noticing these village houses more and more this year’” (Ibid., p. 185).
The original backing board bears an inscription "Georgia OKeeffe/from AS/1923" and "Red + Blue Maine/1923," likely in Georgia O'Keeffe's hand.