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John Marin (1870-1953)

A prominent New York architect who became an artist, John Marin earned a reputation for abstract watercolor paintings influenced by Cubism* and Futurism*.  He was one of the Taos, New Mexico Colony painters in the late 1920s, and his work is credited as an important precedent to Abstract Expressionism*.

Marin was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, and grew up in nearby Weehawken.  He attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts*, studying with Thomas Anshutz, then studied at the Art Students League* in New York, and from 1905 to 1909, studied in Europe.  In Paris, he associated with the Fauvist circle.

He had a long association in New York City with Alfred Stieglitz, who exhibited his work, and in the 1930s, he developed interest in the human figure and marine subjects and oil painting.


In Taos, which he visited in 1929 and 1930, he was the guest of Mabel Dodge Luhan, and was unique because he was using a drybrush* watercolor technique and vividly demonstrated how watercolor could capture the New Mexico landscape.  Because he was so respected nationally, his use of watercolor in New Mexico set a precedent for others painting there.


Matthew Baigell, “Dictionary of American Art”
Michael David Zellman, “300 Years of American Art”