Old House, Rue Saint Romain, Rouen

John Marin (1870-1953), Old House, Rue Saint Romain, Rouen, etching, 1909. Signed in pencil lower right, titled in pencil lower left [also signed and dated in the plate lower right, and titled lower left]. Reference: Zigrosser 92, only state, from the edition of about 12 prints.  In excellent condition, on a cream wove paper with margins (slight ink scuffing lower right margin away from matrix), 8 1/4 x 6 1/4, the sheet 10 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches.

A fine impression of this rarity, printed in black ink with a veil of plate tone toward the edges, and wiped to illuminate the highly differentiated patterns of windows and doors of the house.

Old House, a rare print, was not known to E.M. Benson who created the pioneering catalogue of Marin’s prints for the artist’s exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in 1936, and thus it did not appear in the Benson catalogue. The reproduction of the print in the Zigrosser catalogue is from the collection of Patricia M. Walker, who is cited in Zigrosser as one of the sources outside of the Philadelphia Museum of Art (which has the nearly complete set  – the Master Set – of the Marin prints) which he borrowed from in order to create the exhibit which accompanied his catalogue raisonne of the prints.  Zigrosser did a census of 28 museum and 3 private Marin print collections  for his catalogue, and he names the collections holding each print;  with respect to Old House he names only the Walker Collection, indicating that Old House was not found outside of that collection in his rather comprehensive census. His estimate of an edition of 12 prints is probably just a good guess, which he uses elsewhere with respect to rarer items, but there does not appear to be any strong evidence of this (for example, as was usual, the print is not numbered); hence the real number could well have been lower or higher than 12.

In this period Marin’s etchings were rather closely related in composition and technique to Whistler’s; Old House, Rue Saint Romain is reminiscent of late period Whistler etchings such as Palaces, Brussels (1887, Kennedy 361), and The Embroidered Curtain (1889, Kennedy 410).