Since his early work was first embraced by Alfred Stieglitz, John Marin (1870–1953) has been recognized as one of America's foremost watercolorists. During the last two decades of Marin's career, however, oil painting played a greater role in his studio practice. Marin's engagement with oil was liberating, eventually yielding a more fluid, linear, and calligraphic style.
This beautiful publication is the first to focus exclusively on Marin's output from the 1930s through the early 1950s, a corpus of nearly seventy works, which has been generally overlooked in art historical literature. Debra Bricker Balken resituates these works within the discourses of midcentury modernism, convincingly arguing that critics—such as Clement Greenberg—saw them as important precursors to Abstract Expressionism, influencing such artists as Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. Marin's painted abstractions of the Maine coast and Manhattan architecture were singled out for their invention, singularity, and authority, and forecast the new language of Abstract Expressionism.