Fletcher Martin, American (1904 - 1979)
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.
Metropolitan Museum; Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art; Library of Congress; Rockhill Nelson Gallery in Kansas City; Los Angeles Museum; Florida Gulf Coast Art Center; Cranbrook Museum; Davenport Museum; Denver Museum; Carleton College in Minnesota; Houston Museum; State University of Iowa; Tweed Gallery; International Business Machines; Addison Gallery of American Art; Brandeis University; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; San Francisco Museum; Albany Institute of History and Art; Los Angeles County Fair Association; Witte Memorial Museum; Butler Institute of American ; University of Maine.
Awards and Prizes:
1935: First Los Angeles Museum Prize; 1937, 1938,1939 United States Government Section of Fine Art Awards for Murals in San Pedro, California, La Mesa, Texas; Kellogg, Idaho; 1939 Second Los Angeles Prize; 1947 Lippincott Prize at Pennsylvania Academy; 1949 Altman Prize at National Academy; 1953 Clark Prize at National Academy; 1951 Merit Award at Art Directors Club of Chicago; 1953 Gold Medal at Philadelphia Art Directors Club; 1955 The Art Directors Club Gold Medal.
Exhibited at all important national exhibitions:
Carnegie; Corcoran; Metropolitan Museum; National Academy; Pennsylvania Academy; Americans 1942 at Museum of Modern Art; Venice Biennale; Touring exhibitions in England, France, Italy, South Africa, and Central and South America; Twenty-five one-man shows in museums and galleries in the United States.
Teaching Appointments and Assignments:
Art Center School in Los Angeles; Artist in Residence at University of Iowa; Director of Painting at Kansas City Art Institute; Art Students League; University of Florida, Visiting Professor of Art; Mills College; Albany Institute of History and Art; Claremont College; University of Minnesota ; Castle Hill Foundation at Ipswich Massachusetts; San Antonio Art Institute; Northern Michigan College; Washington State University; Institute de Arte Cozumel, Mexico; Member guiding faculty, Famous Artists Schools.
He died in New York City in 1979.