|John Marin, "New Hampshire, October," oil on canvas, 22 x 28 in.|
I posted a late-autumn watercolor by John Marin a few days ago (see below). It really exemplifies Marin's refreshingly "non-pretty" approach to that medium. Here's an oil painting by Marin depicting the White Mountains during the peak colors of October. Like a van Gogh it employs bold, sometimes squiggly brush work to portray the spiritual energy emanating from nature, the vibrational force of life itself. And the way the composition leans toward elegant abstraction might bring to mind Cezanne. But there's nothing derivative about the work, in my view. This is a pretty spectacular painting, and it has me already looking forward to next October!
Marin is prominently featured at the Philips Collection art museum in Washington, DC. Here's what their website says about Marin:
Over the years Phillips wrote copiously about Marin. He admired his calligraphic line, luminous color, and ability to hint at the fleeting essence of the subject, and believed that he was one of America's finest modernists. In Phillips's estimate, Marin was both an impressionist and expressionist, because he could capture a moment and location as well as his subjective response to it. For Phillips, Marin’s abbreviated impressions of nature conveyed "glimpses of cosmic truth" and became "universal nature poetry." Marin experimented "on the frontiers of visual consciousness," Phillips wrote, making masterful use of space, light, and the dynamics of color. His works "required from the beholder an intuition...and an apprehension of the elemental which transcends school and dogma."