Wednesday, December 23, 2015

John Marin: Seeing Landscape Through A Very Personal Lens

Pertaining to Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street                John Marin, 1933

On this day in 1870 the American modernist painter, John Marin (1870-1953), was born in Rutherford, New Jersey. Marin was trained at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, spent a few years searching for his muse in Europe, then returned to his home country where he exhibited his work at the famous Armory Show of 1913. A decade later he had attracted the attention of major collectors including Duncan Phillips whose world-renowned collection of modern art would form the core of the Phillips Memorial Gallery in Washington, D.C.

I was introduced to Marin's work when David Grimsted - one of the finest teachers ever at the University of Maryland -  took his history class to the Phillips for an exploration of American culture through the artist's eye. Not sure how much history was absorbed that day but I left with an appreciation of John Marin's work and it's still going strong after 45 years.

The Sea, Cape Split, Maine                                                       John Marin, 1931

How to paint the landscape: First you make your bow to the landscape. Then you wait, and if the landscape bows to you, then, and only then, can you paint the landscape.

                                                                                            John Marin

Brooklyn Bridge                                              John Marin, 1913


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