– Norma Marin, who lived for art, especially for her stepfather, dies at 91


Norma B. Marin was a third-grade teacher in New Jersey when she married John Marin Jr., son of American artist John Marin.
She was new to the art world, although she quickly immersed herself in it.

Norma Marin, who for seven decades worked with galleries and museums across the country to promote the work of her father-in-law, died on February 22. She was 91 years old.

Norma Marin Photo courtesy of the Marin family

She was remembered as a passionate advocate not only of Marin’s art, but of emerging Maine artists as well.

“Working with my dad all these years, she came to feel very passionate about the work of John Marin,” said his daughter, Lisa Marie Marin, of Jonesport. “It was a huge responsibility, one that rested largely on her shoulders. She worked tirelessly to take care of her estate and her paintings.

After Marin’s death in 1953, Norma Marin and her husband worked with advisors and art dealers in New York, Washington, DC, and Maine to promote his works. They collaborated with pioneering art dealer Edith Halpert, who created the Marin room at her Downtown gallery in New York. In 1986, the couple donated a treasure trove of oil paintings and watercolors by Marin to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Philanthropist and art collector, Norma Marin donated over 250 works of art by his father-in-law and other artists to the Colby College Museum of Art.

Jacqueline Terrassa, director of the Colby College Museum of Art, said Norma Marin has helped make Maine a home for art, and the museum a place where artists and others can, in Norma Marin’s words, “come see and understand.

“His art donations to the museum have been pivotal in making the Colby Museum a destination,” Terrassa said in a statement. “These gifts include the Norma B. Marin Collection of Photographs, promised in 2011, and the Norma Boon Marin Collection of German Expressionist Prints in 2018, which was equally transformative, as well as other photographs, paintings and works on paper important.”

Marin, who had a team of advisors, became the sole representative of the Marin estate after her husband’s death in 1988.

In 2011, she supported “John Marin: Modernism at Mid-Century”, a groundbreaking exhibition of Marin’s long-neglected later work at the Portland Museum of Art. She also supported a major exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, “John Marin’s Watercolors: A Medium for Modernism.”

According to his obituary, Marin made a major gift of artwork to the Art Museum of Arkansas in Little Rock, which created a permanent home for Marin’s second-largest collection of watercolors and drawings. in the world, after the National Gallery.
“It’s really overwhelming sometimes having to make big decisions,” Norma Marin told the Press Herald in 2012. “I didn’t think about it as a young woman. But I think about it all the time now. I am responsible for his legacy…. I’ve always followed this premise: if it’s good for Marin and if it’s good for Marin, then it’s good for everyone.

Over the years, Norma Marin has been involved with the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Zillman Art Museum at the University of Maine.


“She was an integral part of the fabric of the art world,” her daughter said. “There was a joy and a spontaneity that was really special to her.”

She also loved opera and ballet.

Marin has split her time between New York and Cape Split, Maine, where she and her husband have built their own gallery. In 2014, she settled permanently in Cape Split.

She bought paintings, sculptures, works on paper, photographs and prints, paying attention to young artists.

Andy Verzosa, former owner of Aucocisco Galleries in Portland, said Marin is a strong supporter of him, his gallery and his artists.

“She was a great force,” Verzosa said. “She stood up for artists in Maine. I will always be grateful for his friendship.

Marin was remembered for his humor, strong personality and no-nonsense attitude. Lisa Marie Marin said her mother encouraged her to express her ideas and opinions.

“You always knew where you stood with her,” she said. “She was tough. She expected a lot. She expected people to be at their best. I think she was hard on herself.

Lisa Marie Marin recalled her early years, when she and her parents would take the boat to Outer Sand Island for a picnic.

“It must have been a perfect day to make it happen,” her daughter said. “Feeling the breeze against your face and smelling the salty air. Having a picnic and maybe making a fire on the beach and walking around the island. my mother’s dear ones and mine too.

Lisa Marie Marin said she plans to scatter some of her mother’s ashes on the island. She intends to continue her mother’s work

“I want to carry on the legacy of my grandfather’s work,” she said. “It’s important to me to do the right thing for his work and also to support and promote art in Maine. It’s been such an important part of my life, education and career. I feel it very keenly, the responsibility.

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