Hurricane

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Mark Descriptions
l.r. Marin 44
Dimensions
25 x 30 in. 30 x 35-1/4 x 2-1/4 in. (framed)
Credit line
Bequest of Mrs. James W. Fesler
Accession number
61.42
Collection
Currently On View

Patches of raw canvas, daubs of thick paint and frenzied brushwork convey the turbulence of the stormy sea.

Marin is best known for his watercolors, but his oils also exude the dynamic power of nature.

The artist created landscapes inspired by cubism, and a sensitivity to nature's rhythms.

The artist; Alfred Stieglitz and An American Place; Mrs. Fesler purchased the piece in 1944; donated to the museum by Mrs. Fesler 1961
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John Marin and "The Ocean's Turbulent Nature"

"John Marin's approach to landscape was inspired by the angularity and flattened space of Cubism and by his great sensitivity to nature's rhythms. He developed his own style of rapid brushwork, which captured the spirit of the moment and the dynamics of a ceaselessly transforming world.

In Hurricane, Marin conveys an immediate feeling of the ocean's turbulent nature. Though he painted this canvas from his summer home on the coast of Maine, his depiction of wind, water, and clouds is not tied to any specific locale. The intimate qualities of nature and the ever-changing characteristics of weather also played a vital role in the work of Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and art dealer who gave Marin his first important exhibition; Marin was a core member of Stieglitz's circle of avant-garde artists. In a letter to Caroline Marmon Fesler, whose estate donated this work to the IMA, Stieglitz reports that an English sailor, standing before this painting in his gallery, had said it was the first time he had 'really seen a sea painted as the sea really is.'

Marin is best known for his watercolors, but Hurricane demonstrates the effectiveness of his work in oils. In the 1930s, he developed an interest in oil painting and began to concentrate on the expressive qualities of brushwork and the ruggedness the medium made possible."

Lee, Ellen Wardwell, Anne Robinson, and Alexandra Bonfante-Warren. Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection. Indianapolis: Indianapolis Museum of Art, 2005, p. 150.

The Dynamic Landscapes of John Marin

John Marin grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, and enrolled at the Stevens Institute of Technology before studying at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. He also attended the Art Students League of New York. He toured Europe for six years, painting in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, and Italy. While abroad, Marin developed an interest in watercolors inspired by the work of James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Dealer and colleague Alfred Stieglitz, a champion of modernism, gave Marin his first one-man exhibition in New York. The association between Stieglitz and Marin lasted nearly forty years. Stieglitz’s gallery exhibitions introduced Marin to Cubism and German Expressionism, which helped him develop his compositions.

Marin’s art displayed sensitivity to nature’s rhythms. The dynamic application of impasto suggests the turbulence of the sea in Hurricane. Marin painted this canvas from his summer home on the coat of Maine, but his sense of wind, water, and clouds is not tied to any specific locale. When Mrs. Fesler purchased Hurricane, Stieglitz wrote congratulating her on the acquisition: “The Hurricane is certainly a masterpiece, Every one agrees with every one else as to that….You will realize more and more as you will live with the Marins what they signify – Endless wonder. As all true art is ever a source of increasing Wonder. Music in its many manifestations.”

Hunter, Sam and Timothy A. Eaton. Expression and Meaning: The Marine Paintings of John Marin. Austin, Texas: Eaton Fine Arts, 1999.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

John Marin's approach to landscape was inspired by the angularity and flattened space of Cubism and by his great sensitivity to nature's rhythms. He developed his own style of rapid brushwork, which captured the spirit of the moment and the dynamics of a ceaselessly transforming world.

In Hurricane, Marin conveys an immediate feeling of the ocean's turbulent nature. Though he painted this canvas from his summer home on the coast of Maine, his depiction of wind, water, and clouds is not tied to any specific locale. The intimate qualities of nature and the ever-changing characteristics of weather also played a vital role in the work of Alfred Stieglitz, the photographer and art dealer who gave Marin his first important exhibition; Marin was a core member of Stieglitz's circle of avant-garde artists. In a letter to Caroline Marmon Fesler, whose estate donated this work to the IMA, Stieglitz reports that an English sailor, standing before this painting in his gallery, had said it was the first time he had "really seen a sea painted as the sea really is."

Marin is best known for his watercolors, but Hurricane demonstrates the effectiveness of his work in oils. In the 1930s, he developed an interest in oil painting and began to concentrate on the expressive qualities of brushwork and the ruggedness the medium made possible.

The sea that I paint may not be the sea, but it is a sea, not an abstraction.
-John Marin, 1949