Presentation was key in establishing watercolor as a viable—and buyable—medium for modern art, and Alfred Stieglitz, Marin's lifelong friend and dealer, had strong ideas about mounting and framing the works he displayed in his gallery, creating a clean, simplified look for each of his exhibitions. Doing away with ornate frames, he introduced simple alternatives. He adopted dry mounting for watercolors, underscoring the importance of the object by liberating its edges from the circumscription of traditional mats. For many years, Stieglitz displayed works on paper in the creations of the master framer George Of. Marin was also deeply interested in frames and mounts; at various times in his career, he favored stepped, toned-white gesso frames ordered from Of, and he later created polychrome or gilded finishes that can be seen as an extension of his works. This approach reflects shifts in his artistic ideology—some mounts were actually meant to fight with rather than harmonize with the watercolor—and changing exhibition styles over the decades.
John Marin. Sea, Green and Brown, Maine, 1937. Alfred Stieglitz Collection.