The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls has acquired a watercolor by the leading early American Modernist John Marin (1872-1953) titled “Lake George.” The painting, which depicts a view from Bolton Landing, was purchased at Sotheby’s auction house in June with support from the Museum’s Charles R. Wood Acquisition Fund, and it marks the first major outright purchase of a work of art by The Hyde in a generation.
It is also the first work by John Marin to enter the permanent collection. Marin was a major figure in early American Modernism, best known for his inventive watercolors. His work is held in private collections and prestigious museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Dallas Museum of Art, Blanton Museum of Art, and the Art Institute of Chicago.
Marin was born in New Jersey, but he was principally based in New York and Maine. Watercolor was his primary medium, and his distinct style, which offered a fluid blend of realism and abstraction, solidified his reputation as a groundbreaking Modernist; he was also an avid outdoorsman. Marin frequently depicted mountains and water in his work; in particular, his watercolors often focused on the rocky Maine coast. Lake George was executed during a formative decade in the artist’s career, when he began to move away from the naturalism of his earlier work into a Modernist, Cubist-influenced style.
Marin completed nine watercolors of Lake George. The majority of these were created in 1928, when Marin visited his friends Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keeffe at their lakeside retreat known as “the Hill.” The watercolor acquired by The Hyde depicts the artist’s view of Black Mountain and the Narrows from Bolton Landing. Interestingly, Marin used the same vantage point often represented by many nineteenth-century Hudson River School painters. Of the other eight Marin Lake George watercolors, the location of one is unknown, two are in museum collections (Rhode Island School of Design Museum and The Weatherspoon Museum of Art), and the rest are in private hands.
The provenance of the work is significant. It was owned for many years by the artist’s son, John Marin, Jr., and then by a collector in Florida. Original exhibition and owner labels are preserved on the backing board, and the watercolor is housed in its original frame. One label records that the work was exhibited by Alfred Stieglitz at his gallery An American Place, in the City of New York in 1930.
The Hyde is currently offering its visitors an opportunity to see the watercolor first hand in the Hoopes Gallery, alongside a selection of other recent acquisitions to the Museum’s permanent collection.
The Hyde Collection is open 10 am – 5 pm, Tuesday – Saturday, and 12 pm – 5 pm on Sundays.
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