Saturday, 15 December 2012

Charles James Martin, American Modernist

Charles James Martin

 (September 1886 – August 9, 1955), 
American modernist artist and arts instructor.

Charles Martin worked in a variety of media including etching, lithography, water color, monotype, linocut, woodcut, oil, photography, mezzotint and silversmithing. I became aware of this artist after stumbling over this great Pelicans woodcut print.

It's very much in the tradition of some great Zoo related prints by German printmakers Helene Grand-Tupke (1971-1946) and Suisse Martha Cunz (1876-1961)

Born in Mansfield, England in 1886, Martin emigrated to the USA as a boy and lived out the remainder of his life as an American. He studied art under Arthur Wesley Dow at Dow’s Ipswich Summer School of Art as well as at Columbia University Teachers College, where he became an instructor himself in 1914.

These two monotype prints standing out because of the use of the wonderful warm yellows  and  perspective. Had they only been block prints instead of one-offs.

Martin attained professorship at Teachers College in 1923 and continued his work there into the 1940s. Georgia O’Keeffe attended Martin’s class at Teachers college in 1914-15, where she met Anita Pollitzer. O’Keeffe considered Martin’s instruction significant enough that she continued sending examples of her work for his critique in the period after she attended his class. Martin even had a fan in Winston Churchill.
In the 1910s, Martin also studied photography with Clarence H. White at Teachers College, and became an instructor at White’s School of Photography in 1918. Also in 1918, Martin won first prize in a photography contest held by Columbia University in which Dow and White were judges. During this time period, he also served on the Executive Committee of the Pictorial Photographers of America.
Martin spent many summers in the 1920s-50s living and teaching plein air art classes in Provincetown, Mass, and also in Mexico. Martin continued working as an art instructor, often on a freelance basis, for the remainder of his life. He died on August 9, 1955.

I’ld welcome any contributions for further sharing.  

All pictures borrowed freely from the internet for friendly and educationbal use only. Text borrowed from Wikipedia 


  1. Hi Gerrie,
    Another artist to become acquainted with. Versatile, too.

    1. Worth sharing wasn't he ? Thanks for stopping by Karen.