John Marin was born and raised in New Jersey and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts under Thomas P. Anshutz. Marin also spent time in Europe and while in Paris, he met Edward Steichen, a photographer who referred Marin's work to Alfred Stieglitz. At the time, Alfred Stieglitz owned Gallery 291 in New York. Gallery 291 was an important showcase for avant-garde art and the first to support modern art in America. After returning to America, Marin began receiving an annual stipend from Stieglitz that enabled him to concentrate on his painting, and in 1913, he xhibited his work at the Armory Show.
Marin painted the countryside and coastal areas of the East Coast, and spent his winters in New Jersey. Over the years, Marin's style continued to mature and he began to employ a shorthand method to define the dynamic properties of his forms. The execution suggests spontaneous improvisation held in check by masterful control.
In the summer of 1929 and 1930, Marin traveled to New Mexico where he spent time in Santa Fe and Taos. He later went on to have a retrospective show in 1936 at The Museum of Modern Art, and in 1950, had a large one-man exhibition at the Venice Biennale.