Monday, June 04, 2007

The Avante-garde School: Fletcher Martin

We've spent quite a bit of time over the last few weeks looking at the work of the Old School and the New School - and Al Parker's unique place in spearheading innovation among the more progressive of the mainstream. But there was another way of illustrating that was beginning to emerge in the 50's: The Avant-garde School.

If you've been reading this blog for some time you'll recall past posts on artists like Aurelius Battaglia, Jane Oliver, Jim Flora, Jan Balet and Thomas Vroman, all of whom were getting work published in mainstream American magazines - though compared to illustrators who created works of "idealized realism", the quantity of assignments these artists received was miniscule.

To their ranks I would add the name Fletcher Martin.

A year or two ago I came across the piece below in the March 30, 1956 issue of Collier's magazine. Since then I have found barely a half dozen more pieces by the artist. I had thought that I would probably never be able to see a good quantity of his stunning stylized artwork - then, last week, I found a huge, gorgeous coffee table collection of Fletcher Martin's work in a used bookstore in Toronto. What a revelation!

Martin's life was a series of incredible adventures and experiences. This self taught artist had virtually no exposure to art of any kind while growing up, thus he had no real outside influences.

This week let's take a look at this fascinating pioneer of the Avant-garde School of illustration.

You can see these images at full size in my new Fletcher Martin Flickr set.


  1. Anonymous9:30 PM

    I've been reading your blog and as a collector it is nice to see some Canadian input into the scene. We need to locate all those old Evening Post and MacLeans illustrations and tell the story.
    in Kelowna

  2. Thanks for commenting, BP - telling the story is what its all about around here so keep reading and keep commenting! ;-)