Artist Detail

John (Jack) Martin (1904-1965)

Born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England, the son of Harry D. Martin, architect and designer, he studied art under his father (1908-1914) even before he learned to write. His mother was also a designer so John enjoyed a very creative environment. He took art while attending King Edward VI School, Nuneaton, under Dr. E.A. Needham of the Slade School of Art (1914-1916) and under Mr. Smith (1916-18); Mr. Hill of the Slade School of Art at Goldsmiths College of Art and the Sheffield College of Art (1915); E.S. Harper at Birmingham (1919-1920) and again under his father who became his greatest single influence. He was influenced in his early work by Henry Tonks, Arnesby Brown, Winnifred Ball, the Plein Air School and the English landscape school. Martin came to Canada in 1924 at the age of twenty with a well rounded education in the arts from his excellent schooling and travel. By 1926 he was designing for the textile firm of H.P. Ritchie and was credited with introducing the screen process and stencil methods to Canadian textiles. He worked for other textile firms and printers while in his own personal art he became known for fine engravings, especially dry points. It was however after much encou­ragement from Arthur Lismer that he began to enter his work in the various exhibitions first in 1931. Describing his work in 1943 William Colgate noted, “To his faithful and sympathetic and sensitive plates of rural byways and crossroads, he brings imaginative draftsmanship, an inborn love of people, humour, suffused with gentle feeling. In pieces which show these qualities at their best, Martin displays the ease and simplicity and directness in drawing derived from ripe knowledge and practised skill.” Martin was elected to the Society of Canadian Painter-Etchers and Engravers in 1938 and had been exhibiting with this society since 1934. It was in 1936 that he won the Blue Ribbon and Gold Seal from the S.C.P.E. He exhibited his paintings as well, with the Ontario Society of Artists. He became a member of this society in 1940. He won the G.A. Reid Award (1943-4) for his design of a plaque. During World War II he instructed the army in skiing at Camp Borden. He illustrated two manuals on the sport and was active with various ski clubs and associations in Great Britain and Canada. In 1944 he stopped producing prints and resigned from the S.C.P.E. as he felt that his inspiration in this medium had been exhausted. In 1945 he became Director of Design at the Ontario College of Art; where he taught textile design, drawing, composition, painting and etching until his resignation from the College in 1953. Paul Duval in his book on water colourists, published in 1954, acknowledged Martin’s contribution in this medium. As an outstanding artist and teacher, he was invited to speak at various centres in Ontario. In 1956 he was appointed Curator of the St. Catharines Public Library Art Gallery; instructor at Ridley College, the St. Catharines Art Association, Lakehead Area Arts Association, and he conducted winter classes in Stratford, Galt, Tillson­burg and Toronto. In 1960 he was elected as a Life Fellow of the International Institute of Arts and Letters, for his contribution to art education. In 1961 he received a Canada Council Grant to study and travel in Europe. Returning home he later researched and illustrated A Guide To Waterloo County for Waterloo Trust and Savings Company and recorded and illustrated Paths Of History In Perth And Huron written by Anthony L. Kearsley in 1963 for British Mortgage and Trust Company. Making his home in Ayr Martin travelled to lectures, exhibitions and classes in neighbouring towns and cities but he died in a car accident ironically at an intersection of his own town on November 6, 1965. Reviewing his work in the London Free Press, Lenore Crawford wrote, “The loss to Canadian art through the death last November of John Martin is evident in the works on display . . . Martin was a fine artist and a valuable teacher. He was an experimenter, who explored thoroughly any highway or byway he elected to try and so his paintings, water colors or mixed media works are the products of good technique and deliberation concerning style.”

 Sourced from A Dictionary of Canadian Artists, volumes 1-8 by Colin S. MacDonald, and volume 9 (online only), by Anne Newlands and Judith Parker. National Gallery of Canada / Musée des beaux-arts du Canada

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John (Jack) Martin RCA OSA CPE (Canadian 1904 -1965 )


Dry Point Etching

6.5″” x 7.75″

Signed and titled in pencil, lower margin

Signed and titled to original CPE label, verso.

Matted with 100% archival materials.

John (Jack) Martin RCA OSA CPE(Canadian 1904 -1965 ) Tired _5y7 _57-jipg _5u7

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