In 1920 John Marin bought a seven-room house in Cliffside Park, a borough in Bergen County, New Jersey, within easy commuting distance of New York City. Contrasting with the summer views he produced annually in Maine, Marin painted winter views of his residential neighborhood covered in snow. The subject of this unsigned and undated oil sketch is almost certainly the house with a Dutch roof and three windows that appears over the garage of Marin’s house in the Gallery’s
In 1920 John Marin and his wife, Marie, bought a seven-room house at 243 Clark Terrace
“Noted Artist Abhors All ‘Isms’ Except Real ‘ism’ in Art,” Palisadian, Dec. 11, 1947, quoted in Ruth Fine, John Marin (Washington, DC, 1990), 110.
Trained as an architect early in his career, Marin was adept at rendering urban cityscapes such as New York. In the Gallery’s House with Dutch Roof and
Sheldon Reich, John Marin, 2 vols. (Tucson, AZ, 1970), 1:192.
The subject of this unsigned and undated oil sketch is almost certainly the house with a Dutch roof and three windows that appears over the garage of Marin’s residence in Buildings with Snowbank, Cliffside, New Jersey. The composition was probably executed at the same time, although it is not as geometrically well defined. Marin’s interpretation of the subject in House with Dutch Roof is considerably more spontaneous and expressive, especially in his treatment of the rutted snow along the roof in the foreground and the background details. This view was taken from an elevated vantage point, possibly one of the windows in the artist’s second-story studio in his house.
The truncated forms and partial vistas found in Marin’s works of the late 1920s drew upon the lessons of cubism he had learned from the displays of works by
Ruth Fine, in her discussion of two additional oil paintings of Cliffside from 1929—From My Window, Cliffside, New Jersey
Ruth Fine, John Marin (Washington, DC, 1990), 111.
August 17, 2018
across upper center reverse: SR#141[the "141" crossed out] 28.23 / (House with Dutch Roof) c. 1928 / 8 x 10; upper right reverse: NBM 2/21/84; across center reverse: column of various numbers
The artist [1870-1953]; his estate; by inheritance to his son, John C. Marin, Jr. [1914-1988], Cape Split, Maine; gift 1986 to NGA.
- Reich, Sheldon. John Marin: A Stylistic Analysis and Catalogue Raisonné. Tucson, 1970: no. 28.23.
- American Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1992: 231, repro.
The plain-weave fabric support was glued to a stiff board, probably by the artist. Extra fabric was folded around and adhered to the back of the board. The tacking margins are intact, and a selvage is present on the bottom edge. The artist applied paint swiftly and spontaneously over a commercially prepared, thin, cream colored ground that remains visible in many spots throughout the composition. There are small areas of impasto and brushmarking. The paint surface has a lean, chalky appearance that indicates the pigments are underbound. The painting is in good condition, other than the even coating of grime that has accumulated over the unvarnished surface.