Artist biography

John Marin 1870-1953

American painter in watercolour and oils, and etcher. Born in Rutherford, New Jersey. Worked for four years in architects' offices, then 1893-5 as freelance architect. Became increasingly interested in sketching, and studied art at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia, 1899-1901 and briefly at the Art Students League, New York, 1904. Lived in Paris 1905-9, with trips to Holland, Belgium, Italy and England; worked mainly as an etcher in the tradition of Whistler, but also made a number of watercolours and pastels. Returned to New York in 1909 for his first one-man exhibition at Stieglitz's Photo-Secession Gallery. In Europe again 1910-11, then settled permanently in the USA. Lived in Brooklyn, then New York, then in Cliffside, New Jersey, 1916-53. Spent the summers in the Berkshires, the Adirondacks, the Delaware River country etc., but above all on the coast of Maine, at Small Point or Deer Island and from 1933-53 at Cape Split. Developed a more dynamic, fractured style from 1912 to depict the interaction of conflicting forces, and gradually evolved summary ways of rendering his vivid impressions of sea, sky, mountains or the skyscrapers of Manhattan. In the 1920s worked almost exclusively in watercolour; after 1930 painted largely in oils. Died at Cape Split.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.486