Becoming John Marin

Modernist at Work


Ramapo Mountains

When John Marin couldn’t get to Maine, he could get to the Ramapo Mountains. The range spans northeastern New Jersey and southeastern New York state, including a forest preserve along the border of Bergen County, New Jersey, with a dense network of hiking trails. Approximately thirty miles from John Marin’s Cliffside Park home, the park provided the artist with an accessible escape to the countryside. In 1942, with the threat of gasoline rationing caused by World War II, Marin might have turned to this mountain range for respite from his city life. It would have been much more accessible than Cape Split, on the coast of Maine, where he had a vacation home. In a contemporary photograph of the Ramapos, we can see the Manhattan Skyline in the distance.

View of the Manhattan Skyline from the Ramapos

    ​Josephine White Rodgers, View of the Manhattan Skyline from the Ramapos, May 2017, digital photograph, courtesy of the photographer.

    I — have to paint pictures — Oh yes I have to — Some cuss inside me forces me to paint.

    John Marin, fall 1948