This work by John Marin depicts boats at sea

John Marin

American, 1870–1953

Seascape Fantasy, Maine, 1944

Oil on canvas

25 x 30 inches

In 1948 critic Clement Greenberg wrote, “If it is not beyond all doubt that [John Marin] is the best painter alive in America at this moment, he assuredly has to be taken into consideration when we ask who is.”

Best known for his watercolors, Marin began painting in oil as early as 1913, returned to the medium in the 1930s, and again in the 1940s and early 50s. Scholar William C. Agee says, “There is no question now that his late paintings consistently rank with and often surpass the very best he had ever done. He is still better known for his watercolors, but one can say with increasing confidence that he was at his best as a painter in oil.…

“In Seascape Fantasy … the sense of something imagined is heightened by the open spaces and thin washes of color, as if to render something almost immaterial, even dreamlike. There is a distinct sense of some kind of spiritual experience depicted here, for lines of force descend from the sun and clouds to the water, thus connecting the natural world with the manmade (the ship) and a more heavenly reality, that will also recall van Gogh.”

This work by John Marin depicts boats at sea