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John Marin 18701953
John Marin's most celebrated art is about monumental forms and forces: bridges, skyscrapers, sea, and sky. Alfred Stieglitz, who helped launch Marin's reputation, considered him a sensitive individualist inspired by modern art but not adhering to any established movement. Marin used bold, gestural strokes, rich colors, and a cubist-influenced linear structure to explore both urban and rural worlds. Late in his career, Marin also discovered a new interest in the human scale of portraiture.

Marin's face fascinated other artists, who often photographed, painted, or sculpted his portrait. By the 1940s, his face was well known in the art world. "John Marin is an American original," one artist wrote, "a curious little man, wiry and frail. His face is incredibly wrinkled and puckers into all sorts of criss-cross lines." In this self-portrait, the painter of Maine's rugged coast observed the effects of time and weather on his own visage. "He was born old," critic Henry McBride once wrote of Marin, "and has remained young."

Graphite and charcoal pencil on transparent film, circa 1945
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
2001 Estate of John Marin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
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