Fletcher Martin

Theme/Style – Regionalism, Western subjects, figurative art

Media – Oils, murals, watercolors, illustrations

Artistic Focus – A Colorado native, Fletcher Martin bridged the Old West and 20th Century America with paintings, watercolors, murals and illustrations that depicted real people in real life situations. Self-taught, his work evolved into a simplified, unsentimental and yet respectful style that reflected every phase of his life. Martin’s work is known for its sense of balance, equilibrium and simplification of detail. His later canvases demonstrated an attraction to a broader color palette, reflecting his satisfaction with a new marriage, his children, and an ever-growing public acceptance.

Career Highlights –

• In Los Angeles in the 1930s, a meeting with Mexican painter David Alvaro Siquieros sparked an artistic transition from a romantic painter to one who focused on ideas as the substance of every canvas. Although Martin disagreed with Siquieros’ insistence that an artist’s canvas offer social commentary, he nonetheless began to create works with “a tolerant understanding and obvious affection” for their subjects.
• Martin taught at the Art Center and other colleges in the Los Angeles area. He also taught at the Kansas City Art Institute, and in 1940, was appointed to replace Grant Wood as the artist in residence at the University of Iowa.
• On assignments for government and corporate clients, he documented the world of tobacco farmers, the health conditions of Eskimos and native Americans, and the events of World War II.
• One of Martin’s war paintings was featured on the cover of the December 27, 1943, edition of Life Magazine.