Martha Walter (1875-1976)
Martha Walter, an Impressionist painter, was born in Philadelphia, PA. She specialized in watercolors and oils depicting colorful beach scenes of summer resorts such as Gloucester, Coney Island, Atlantic City and the coast of France. Walter attended the Pennsylvania Academy for the Fine Arts from 1894 to 1902 where she studied with William Merritt Chase, who exerted a strong influence on her early work. She received the Academy’s prestigious Toppan Prize in 1902 and obtained a two-year traveling scholarship to Europe. Walter attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière and the Académie Julian in Paris in 1903. She was a student of René Menard and of Lucien Simon. In Paris Walter shared a studio in the Rue de Bagneaux with several other young American women artists. Walter was attracted to plein-air painting and the use of rich, saturated colors. Besides her sunny resort scenes, her subjects included park and street views, floral still lifes, portraits, and studies of women and infants. In 1908 she received a Cresson Traveling Scholarship, from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, which allowed her further travel. The artist returned to New York around the beginning of World War I, and set up a studio, and taught at Chase’s New York School of Art. She also established studios and taught in Gloucester, Massachusetts, Chicago, and Brittany in France. In the 1930s, she traveled across North Africa painting her impressions of Tunisia, Tripoli, and Algiers. From Africa, the artist traveled to the Dalmatian coast where she painted dozens of market scenes. In 1922 Walter completed a series of paintings of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island.
Walter was a member of the National Association of Women Artists and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited at, among many others: the Paris Salon; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Corcoran Gallery, Washington, D.C.; the National Academy of Design, New York City; the Cincinnati Art Museum; the National Association of Women Artists, New York; the St. Louis City Art Museum; Les Galeries George Petit, Paris; Le Salon d’Automne, Paris; and the National Arts Club, Washington, D.C. Walter’s work is represented in the collections of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Detroit Institute of Art; the Milwaukee Art Center; the Toledo Museum of Art; the Luxembourg Museum and Musée d’Orsay, Paris; the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C.; the Terra Foundation for American Art, Giverny, France; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and the Columbus Museum of Art, among others. She died in Moorestown, New Jersey in 1976.
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