Becoming John Marin

Modernist at Work


Brooklyn Bridge

The iconic suspension bridge was constructed between 1869 and 1883. This meant that the project, which demanded much money and labor and cost many lives, was prominent in the news starting before Marin’s birth and continuing through much of his childhood. The bridge was always part of his life. At an early stage when Marin had started the transition from architect to fine art, he made a drawing of the New York waterfront at Peck Slip and South Street, with one of the bridge’s massive stone towers appearing. At this early point in his career, Marin worked in a style formed by the popular illustrations of the period.

Pine Street, New York

    John Marin, Pine Street, New York, 1895–1905, graphite on textured watercolor paper, 9 × 12 in. (22.86 × 30.48 cm.), Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, Gift of Norma B. Marin, New York, New York. 2013.018.246

    Drawing is the path of all movement Great and Small —
    Drawing is the path made visible.

    John Marin, unpublished notes

    Draw it carefully in your mind Then write it down quickly.

    John Marin, unpublished notes

    Do you want to know what I think about etchings and what they should be? Well, little letters of places.

    John Marin, quoted by E. A. Taylor in “The American Colony of Artists in Paris.” Studio 53 (July 1911): 112–15