John Marin saw New York City as "a kind of bustling paradise and as one of the formative influences in his life. First in his watercolors and later in his oils, he observed it from many points of view and created vivid pictorial equivalents for the complex interrelation of its harsh angles, the impact of light on surfaces of glass and stone, the spatial tensions and the myriad contrasts of movement." (C.E. Buckley, John Marin in Retrospect: An Exhibition of his Oils and Watercolors, Washington, D.C., 1962, p. 10) The tempo of the city and its role as a center for Modernist thought were central to Marin's artistic immersion in its atmosphere. As evident in the present work, Downtown New York, Telephone Building, Marin was a close observer of the shapes, spaces and movement of the modern metropolis.