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John Marin Letter to Alfred Stieglitz

Identifier: MSS -245-SC

Scope and Content

This collection contains one photocopy of a letter written in installments (on August 4, 10, and 14, 1930) from Taos, New Mexico, by John Marin to Alfred Stieglitz. The seven-page letter concerns the Native American dances at Santo Domingo Pueblo. It mentions Mabel Dodge Luhan and Paul Strand. The letter describes the odd mood Marin is in after having seen the dances at Santo Domingo Pueblo, and mentions paintings he made based on the dances in 1929 and 1930, perhaps referring to his 1929 watercolor titled "Corn Dance." Marin also provides insight into his views of Mabel Dodge Luhan (New York socialite-turned- reporter and patron of the artists' colony at Taos, New Mexico). Marin writes that he witnessed two dogs fighting and "Mable [sic] Luhan [sic] came over to have it stopped" as she said "it disturbed her tenents [sic] working -- working Ha Ha." Finally, the author reports on the local government fish hatcheries, mentions the climatic conditions of the time, and adds that "even Mr. Paul Strand has given up a cussing the people for a spell and is enjoying the orgy." This comment is not contextualized further. Thus, the letter reflects Marin's social connections and his opinions surrounding the Taos art colony.


  • 1930, Aug. 4-14

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.


John Marin was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, in 1870. He spent two years at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (1898-1900), one year at the Art Students' league, and four years in Europe, mainly Paris, where he free-lanced in etching, oil, and watercolor. He was mentored by Alfred Stieglitz, famous New York photographer, who showed Marin's work alongside works by Rodin, Matisse, Picasso, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Georgia O'Keeffe, whom Stieglitz later married. Stieglitz also showed the work of photographer Paul Strand, who was Marin's neighbor for a time in Penobscot Bay, as well as residing in Taos at the same time Marin did.

John Marin began as a landscapist, later painted city scenes, worked in etchings, and later was known as a watercolorist. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, in a show of Marin's work, considered that "Marin had used the lessons of Futurism and Cubism in evolving a quasi-geometrical framework onto which he could graft his intensely personal reflections of the world." His work showed at various galleries and museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan (New York), and "291" the "Photo-Secession Gallery" also (later) known as "An American Place" or "The Place," owned by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Marin's biographer, MacKinley Helm, writes, appropriately, that "Marin furthermore approached letter-writing with gaiety. His letters convey, for the most part, information, judgment, or appreciation." Certainly, this is the case for the letter in this collection.


1 Folder


This collection is comprised of a photocopy of a letter written to photographer and mentor Alfred Stieglitz from artist John Marin. The letter concerns various goings on in Taos at the time.

Related Material

Taos Society of Artists Collection Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe. Donaldson Family Letters Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico University Libraries. Elizabeth Willis DeHuff Family Papers Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico University Libraries.

Relevant Secondary Sources

  • Benson, E.M. John Marin: The Man and His Work. Washington: The American Federation of Arts, 1935.
  • Helm, MacKinley. John Marin, 1970-1953. Tucson: University of Arizona Art Guild, 1963.
  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art. John Marin, 1870-1953. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1970.
  • Norman, Dorothy. Alfred Stieglitz. New York: Aperture, 1976.
  • Tomkins, Calvin. Paul Strand: Sixty Years of Photographs. New York: Aperture, Inc., 1976.
  • Wheelan, Richard. Alfred Stieglitz. Boston and New York: Little, Brown and Company, 1995.
Finding Aid of the John Marin Letter to Alfred Stieglitz, 1930, Aug. 4-14
Processed by K. Stocker
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • June 28, 2004: PUBLIC "-//University of New Mexico::Center for Southwest Research//TEXT (US::NmU::MSS 245 SC::John Marin Letter to Alfred Stieglitz)//EN" "nmu1mss245sc.sgml" converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by v1to02.xsl (sy2003-10-15).
  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131