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An Amon Carter exhibit attempts to repair the damage done to John Marin, a bold American modernist whom time forgot

(Gaile Robinson, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
John Marin’s paintings are rarely, if ever, at the top of anyone’s favorites list. His colors are often murky, and his brush strokes look scratchy and ill-formed.

There are vestiges of cubism and precursors of abstraction in his compositions, so that the whole looks neither one nor the other, and the paintings seem messy, and well, by then, you are a gallery removed from the offending painting.

Marins usually hang with the more beloved midcentury Americans, such as Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove and Georgia O’Keeffe, whose works also verge on the abstract but are more solid, beefier. So when chancing upon a Marin, it is easy to scoot past and not stop and ponder the anomaly.

There is a reason to pause, though. Marin was pivotal in the course of American art, and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art has mounted an exhibit of more than 60 paintings from his final two decades (1933-1953) that tries to lend some resonance to Marin’s legacy. There was a time when his reputation didn’t need the boost.

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