Fletcher Martin (1904-1979)

Fletcher Martin (1904-1979). Darkness, 1940. Oil on canvas, 18 x 22 inches; 28.5 x 32.5 inches framed. Signed and dated lower left. Presented in a carved chestnut Heydenryk custom frame of the period. Excellent condition with no damage or conservation.


Birth place: Palisade, CO

Death place: Guanajuato, Mexico

Addresses: NYC; Woodstock, NY, 1947 and after; Guanajuato, Mexico in 1976 Profession: Painter, lithographer, block printer, muralist, illustrator, teacher Studied: Stickney Mem. Sch. Art Exhibited: Hatfield Gal., Los Angeles, 1932 (solo); LACMA, 1935 ( Van Rensselaer Wilbur Prize), 1939 (prize), 1944; FAP, 1937 (prize); PAFA Ann., 1939-54 frequently (prize 1947); 48 States Comp., 1939 (prize); WMAA, 1940-57; AIC, 1940-45; VMFA, 1941; CI, 1942-44; MoMA, 1942; NAD, 1943, 1949 (Altman Prize); Corcoran Gal. biennials, 1943-53 (6 times); Roberson Mem. Center, Binghamton, NY, 1968 (retrospective); Eve Loring Gal., Cedarhurst, NY & Rudolph Gals., Woodstock, NY, 1970s Member: A.N.A., 1969; Woodstock AA (chmn., 1953-55); Calif. WC Soc.; Am. Artists Cong.; Fnd. of Western Art; AEA (nat. committee,1949-55). Work: MMA; WMAA; MoMA; LOC; Cranbrook Acad. Art; William Rockhill Nelson Gal., Kansas City, KS; LACMA; Denver Art Mus.; Mus. FA, Houston; SFMA; PAFA.

Commissions: true fresco, WPA, Hollywood H.S., 1935; oil on canvas, U.S. Secretary Fine Art, Fed. Bldg., San Pedro, CA, 1937; oil on canvas, U.S. Secretary Fine Art, Post Office Bldg., Lamesa, TX, 1938; bas relief sculpture, U.S. Secretary Fine Art, County Court House, Bonner’s Ferry, ID, 1939; oil on canvas, U.S. Secretary Fine Art, Post Office Bldg., Kellogg, ID, 1940. Comments: Preferred media: oils, watercolors, print media. Specialty: Western subjects. Illustrator: Tales of the Gold Rush, 1944; Mutiny on the Bounty, 1947; The Sea Wolf, 1961; The Jungle, 1965; Of Mice and Men, 1969. Positions: teacher, Los Angeles Art Center Sch.,1938-39; artist-in-residence, Univ. Iowa, 1940-41; hd. dept. painting, Kansas City Art Inst., 1941-43; ASL, 1948-49; visiting artist, Univ. Florida. Born in Palisade, Colorado, a small western town where his father ran the newspaper, Fletcher Martin was a self-taught artist, best known for his painting of western subjects. He worked as a painter, muralist, and illustrator. Martin grew up in a family that moved to towns throughout the West. He showed an early interest in art, primarily from circus posters and amateur painters. At age 12, he began working as a printer, and after dropping out of high school, had various jobs including lumberjack and professional boxer. In Seattle, where he worked for Western Show Print, he specialized in big, gaudy outdoor posters. From 1922 to 1926, he served in the Navy and then settled in Los Angeles where he had a job with Earl Hays printers. He had a long-time interest in boxing and did many paintings of that activity. He also assisted Mexican painter Siqueiros with a large mural and created a design for a Post Office mural in Kellogg, Idaho that citizens found objectionable because it depicted a mining accident. His revised work was a frontiersman and a prospector, but he featured an ass in the prominent part of the composition over the postmaster’s door. In 1938, he began a thirty-year career as visiting teacher in art schools in California including Mills College, Otis Art Institute, and Claremont College. In 1943, he traveled to North Africa as artist-correspondent for Life magazine. He died in New York City in 1979.