Marin Sea and Boat #1


Sailboat on choppy water in pastel hues.

John Marin
b. 1870 Rutherford, NJ; d. 1953 Addison, ME
Sea and Boat #1, 1942
Oil on canvas
22 1/8 x 28 1/8 in
Acquired in 1989
The Dr. and Mrs. John J. Mayers Collection
© Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Visual Arts

Grade Range



Critical analysis


Museum trip


Personal Connection worksheet

About the Artist

John Marin, known as an early American modernist for his abstracted landscapes and watercolors, was born in Rutherford, NJ in 1870. He attended the Stevens Institute of Technology in NJ for a short while and spent six years working in an architectural firm before becoming an artist. He studied art at both the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia and Art Students League of New York City.

Marin spent several years studying and painting in Paris. While his watercolors were on exhibit at the Salon d’Automne, Edward Steichen, impressed by Marin’s watercolors, introduced him to the American photographer and art dealer Alfred Stieglitz. This introduction led to Marin’s first important exhibition at Stieglitz’s gallery, 291, in 1910. Stieglitz and Marin became good friends and Stieglitz exhibited his work quite often.

Marin is considered an important member of the early modernists which includes Georgia O'Keeffe, Arthur Dove, and Marsden Hartley.

Marin lived in Cliffside, NJ and had his studio there during most of the year. Beginning in 1914, Marin, and later his wife and son, spent most summers in Maine. Its landscape and seacoast became a major source of inspiration for the rest of his life.

Learning Goal

To use critical analysis to describe the characteristics of the seascape painting Sea and Boat #1 by John Marin.

I Can Statement

I can use critical analysis to describe the characteristics of the seascape painting Sea and Boat #1 by John Marin.


Critical analysis, seascape, realistic, abstract, evoke, landscape, seascape


  • Define and discuss critical analysis.
  • Introduce or review the vocabulary.
  • Point out that the artist was born in Rutherford, New Jersey.
  • Elicit information about New Jersey from the class (location, climate, capital city).
  • What is this type of painting called (seascape)?
  • Discuss the concepts of realistic and abstract art.
  • Is the painting more realistic or more abstract?
  • What is happening in the painting?
  • Describe the mood that is evoked in you by this scene and why (serious, happy or sad).
  • Ask for a description of the colors (warm, cool, bright or dull). 
  • What do you suppose was the artist’s mood when he painted this seascape?
  • Does the painting show motion? Describe that motion (direction, intensity).
  • Describe the setting (time of day, season and location).
  • Describe the background.
  • Discuss texture and ask the children to describe the texture (smooth or bumpy).
  • Request a description of the shapes (rectangles, ovals, triangles).
  • Ask the group to describe the lines (straight, curvy, diagonal).


Elicit critiques (I liked or disliked the painting because …) and discuss the responses.


Have the class complete the personal connection worksheet and share with the class.

Florida Standards

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades K-5

  • Vocabulary: VA.1.C.3.1 / VA.2.C.3.1 / VA.3.C.3.1 / VA.4.C.3.1 / VA.1.S.1.4/ VA.2.S.1.4 / VA.3.S.1.4 / VA.4.S.1.4 / VA.5.S.1.4
  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.K.C.1 .2 / VA.1.C.1.2 / VA.2.C.1.2 / VA.3.C.1.2 / VA.4.C.1.2 / VA.5.C.1.2
  • Artist’s intent: VA.5.C.3.2
  • Critique art: VA.3.C.3.3 / VA.4.C.3.3 / VA.5.C.3.3
  • Identify shapes: MAFS.K.G.1.2 / MAFS.4.G.1.2 / MAFS.5.G.2.4

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades 6-8

  • Vocabulary: VA.68.C.3.1 
  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.68.C.1.2
  • Artist’s intent: VA.68.S.1.5
  • Describe art from selected cultures: VA.68.H.1.1    
  • Critique art: VA.68.C.3.3

Florida Visual Arts Standards Grades 9-12

  • Interpret and Reflect: VA.912.C.1
  • Vocabulary: VA.912.C.3.1
  • Describe art from selected cultures: VA.912.H.1
  • Critique art: VA.912.C.3
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