Brooklyn Bridge No. 6 (Swaying), 1913

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John Marin (1870-1953), Brooklyn Bridge No. 6 (Swaying) = 1913, Etching.

Z112. Edition c. 12 (Steiglitz); 1924, unknown but small (New Republic). Signed in pencil. Signed and dated 13 and B.B. 6 in the plate, lower left.

Image size 6 7/8 x 8 5/8 inches (175 x 219 mm); sheet size 9 1/4 x 13 inches (235 x 330 mm).

A superb, richly inked impression, with selectively wiped platetone; on warm cream wove paper, with full margins (1 to 1 5/8 inches), in excellent condition. Very scarce.

First published by Alfred Stieglitz in 1913, a small number of later impressions were printed as the work was slated to be included in the New Republic portfolio Six American Etchings. Only a few impressions were pulled before it was replaced by Marin’s Downtown, the El. Carl Zigrosser was unaware that Brooklyn Bridge No. 6 (Swaying) was ever included in the Set when he wrote the Marin catalogue; later, when he learned of it’s initial inclusion, he suggested that perhaps the plate had broken early in the run, and this hypothesis has been repeated through the years. But this is unlikely since the printer, Peter Platt (1859–1934), America’s most distinguished artists’ printer of the period, worked alone, and he was hardly prone to breaking copper plates. A more likely explanation is that Downtown the El was substituted because it is about the same size as the other prints in the set, whereas the Brooklyn Bridge No. 6 print is much larger; a plate of the same size would facilitate the printing of a large edition. Each of the plates was purchased by the NewRepublic, and the paper’s records for 1924–5, as well as the plates used for the set have been lost or destroyed.

Collections: PMA, MMA (Stieglitz Collection), MoMA (Gift of Abby Aldrich Rockefeller).