May 2, 2010
Movement No.9, Sea and Boat, Deer Isle, Maine
Alfred Stieglitz Collection
John Marin has been called one of the most successful artists within the Stieglitz circles. The circle of American artists that Stieglitz surrounded himself with were most concerned with the European modern art that was being created at the time. Marin in particular was fascinated with the avant-garde and produced work with power and energy. Although, Stieglitz has been attributed with Marin’s success, it was Marin who was responsible for providing an American interpretation of the European avant-garde movement.
About the Artist
John Marin – American, 1870 – 1953
John Marin grew up with his maternal grandparents in Weehawken, New Jersey. From his early years, Marin showed a great love for the outdoors that he later expressed in his art. As a young man Marin worked as a draftsman in several architectural firms before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1899.
The following year he won a prize for outdoor sketches of wild fowl and riverboats. Marin’s professional career dates from around 1905 when he traveled to Europe, a journey then considered essential to the training of American artists with high aspirations.
Landscape remained Marin’s primary interest throughout his life, and his name is often connected with the state of Maine, where, after 1914, he usually worked for part of the year. His paintings of Maine vary from woodland landscapes to misty views of picturesque towns to seascapes, which became an increasingly important motif over the years.
Despite his strong association with Maine, Marin’s travels extended far beyond that state. He painted delicate landscapes during his early years in Europe, and also worked in New England and around Taos, New Mexico. New York City and the Hudson River Valley also inspired many of the artist’s works. From the early 1930s, the circus captivated Marin’s attention; he filled sketchbooks with abbreviated notations that stand for ringmasters, trapeze artists, lions, elephants, and the surrounding audience.
Marin’s close ties with the photographer Alfred Stieglitz and those in his circle kept him in contact with the foremost modernist thinkers of the time. His acclaim during his long career surpassed that of any of his contemporaries, and he showed his works in solo exhibitions virtually every year from 1910 until his death in 1953.
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