John Marin (1870-1953) grew up in Weehawken, New Jersey, and attended the Stevens Institute of Technology for a year. His experience with architecture might have contributed to the role played by architectural themes in his paintings and watercolors. Marin is often credited with influencing the Abstract Expressionists. His treatment of paint, handling oils almost like watercolors, forays into abstraction and evocative stretches of bare canvas caught the eye of younger painters.
From 1899 to 1901, Marin attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. In Philadelphia he studied with Thomas Pollock Anshutz and William Merritt Chase. He also studied at the Art Students League of New York. In 1905 like many American artists Marin went to Europe, initially to Paris. He traveled through Europe for six years. Marin painted in Holland, Belgium, England, and Italy. In Europe he mastered a type of watercolor where he achieved an abstract ambience, almost a pure abstraction with color that ranges from transparency to translucency, accompanied by strong opacities, and linear elements, always with a sense of freedom, which became one of his trademarks.