Magazine article Arts & Activities

Clip & Save: John Marin (1870-1953), Movement -- Pertaining to Deer Isle, Maine -- the Harbor I, 1927. Watercolor and Pencil on Paper; 16 5/8" X 22 1/4". the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York. (Art Notes)(Cover Story)

Magazine article Arts & Activities

Clip & Save: John Marin (1870-1953), Movement -- Pertaining to Deer Isle, Maine -- the Harbor I, 1927. Watercolor and Pencil on Paper; 16 5/8" X 22 1/4". the Metropolitan Musuem of Art, New York. (Art Notes)(Cover Story)

Article excerpt

the artist

John Marin (1870-1953) spent most of his childhood in Weehawken, N.J. His first pictures showed the area near where he lived, including views of New York City just across the Hudson River. He was always to be seen with a pad and pencil in his hand, working in his own personal style. Marin had an intense love of personal liberty and his art shows a uniquely American vision of the world. No other Expressionist artist has ever been quite like him.

John Marin was mainly self-taught. He worked as an architect until he was 28 but was not satisfied by that kind of work. By that time his family had finally accepted that he was going to be a painter. In 1901, at age 31, he attended art school in Philadelphia before going to Paris for six years. During the time he was in Europe, Marin searched for a style of painting that best suited him and worked for a while in the styles of each of the major art movements of the time--Impressionism, Fauvism and Cubism--before discovering the spontaneous Expressionist style he used for the rest of his life.

On his return to the United States, Marin went to live in New York City and made the city the subject of his art. The paintings, drawings and prints made during this time captured the turbulent life of the great city during a period of prosperity and rapid growth. During the summers, however, he went to Maine and to New Mexico, where he painted scenes of wild coastlines and desert wilderness.

Wilderness and ocean themes increasingly inspired him and eventually he took his family away from New York. He made his home on the coast of Maine and, for the next 40 years, he painted the sea, the coastline, the villages and towns, and, above all, the weather that he loved so well.

Throughout his long life, John Marin's art continually changed as he restlessly experimented with fresh ideas. For him, everything he saw was full of rhythm and he was driven to get his feelings down as quickly as he could. In doing so, he dismissed whatever was not essential. As a result, he used fewer and fewer brushstrokes in his paintings. …

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