Art: Golfer with a Brush

For almost 20 years, art critics have persistently called John Marin the best living U.S. watercolorist. Last week Marin's first retrospective show since 1936 showed why.

The exhibition, in Boston's Institute of Modern Art, included about a hundred water colors, oils, etchings from Marin's sizable output (he averages 30 or 40 water colors a year).* Most were balanced skeins of color which caught, as if in shorthand, the feel of Marin's Maine and Manhattan. The best of them, which had the lift and sparkle of a sunny day at sea, looked as if they had taken a couple of minutes to...

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