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Artist Biography

 John Marin was part of Alfred Steiglitz's inner coterie of highly talented American abstract artists who ruled the dynamic and innovative New York art scene during the early years of the twentieth century. A native of New Jersey, Marin at twenty-eight gave up the idea of being an architect to study at The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia under Thomas P. Anshutz and Hugh Breckenridge. He then moved to Europe for six years (1905-1911) and participated in landmark exhibitions in Paris such as the Salon d'Automne and the Salon des Artistes Indépendants. He eventually moved back to the northeastern United States and migrated seasonally through the Hudson River Valley and New England where he painted on site.

Beginning in the 1920s, Marin began to work in watercolor, a medium that had historically been appreciated for its delicacy. Marin painted with quick, yet controlled strokes that imparted a sense of spontaneity, speed, and motion. Marin's watercolors are worked through with rough suggestion and elegant economy of line that reveal his full command of brush, hand, and eye. The 1930s was the decade of Marin's seascapes. In 1933, Marin spent the summer at Cape Split in Maine. Marin had been spending his summers in Maine for many years, but Cape Split was much farther north and east than his earlier vacation spots. The paintings done during that year suggest that Marin must have felt an immediate sense of being home again; a sense similar to what he had experienced at Casco Bay almost two decades earlier. Cape Split juts into Pleasant Bay, and even today the population of the region is sparse and far off the routes normally traveled by tourists. Due to the success of his work from that summer in 1933, the Marins bought a cottage on the cape, set out on the rocks with the sea about twenty-five feet from the doorstep. Throughout his career Marin had loved to paint scenes of the ocean and capture the rhythm of the waves and rocks. These watercolors from the early 1930s held a special importance for him, with the cape providing him with endless stretches of shore to paint. Marin is remembered as one of the most successful and influential of the early American Modernists.