Artistic Inspiration: John Marin (American,1870 – 1953)

During his lifetime, American modernist John Marin was the country’s most celebrated artist. His improvisational approach to color, paint handling, perspective, and movement situated him as a leading figure in modern art and helped influence the Abstract Expressionist movement. Although Marin had dabbled in art since childhood and went to work in an architect’s office, he did not become a serious artist until he met Stieglitz in 1909, when Marin was almost forty years old.  According to art critic and collector Phillip Duncan (The Phillips Collection), “Marin was both an impressionist and expressionist, because he could capture a moment and location as well as his subjective response to it…making masterful use of space, light, and the dynamics of color.”

 

“Shall we consider the life of a great city as confined simply to the people and animals on its streets and in its buildings? Are the buildings themselves dead? … I see great forces at work: great movements; the large buildings and the small buildings; the warring of the great and the small; influences of one mass on another greater or smaller mass…. While these powers are at work pushing, pulling, sideways, downwards, upwards, I can hear the sound of their strife and there is great music being played. And so I try to express graphically what a great city is doing.”

–Marin

 

 

 

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