Martha Walter

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Martha Walter
Born(1875-03-19)March 19, 1875
DiedJanuary 1976 (aged 100)
OccupationAmerican Impressionist Painter

Martha Walter (March 19, 1875 – January 1976) was an American impressionist painter.[1]


Motherhood by Martha Walter, by 1915

A Philadelphia native, Walter attended Girls High School.[2] She studied art at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art (now the University of the Arts College of Art and Design) from 1895–98 and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia.[3] She was taught by William Merritt Chase. She won the school's Toppan Prize (1902) and Cresson Traveling Scholarship (1908).[4] In 1909 she also won the school's Mary Smith Prize for the best painting by a resident female artist.[5]


Using the Cresson scholarship she traveled to Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, and France. In France, she received tuition from Rene Menard and Lucien Simon at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière.[1] Walter had a show at the Galleries George Petit in Paris in 1922. The French government purchased one of her works titled The Checquered Cape.[6]

She was lauded in her early career for her "intimate portrayal of little children" in paintings such as The Picnic and A Parasol Tea, which were noted particularly for her use of color.[4]

In the 1930s, Walter traveled to North Africa and began to paint the market places of Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers.[7] The African sun offered a different lighting then her usual scenes in America and France.

After returning to New England, she set up a studio in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where she often painted beach scenes. She went on to teach art at Chase's New York School of Art.[7] She often lived with one of her sisters, and sometimes traveled in the summer with Alice Schille, who she had met as an art student.[8]

Her estate was purchased in the late 1960s by the David David Gallery of Philadelphia. Walter continued working until a few years before her death in 1976 at age 99.[2]


Walter's 1922 painting The Telegram, Detention Room (Ellis Island) was included in the inaugural exhibition of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, American Women Artists 1830-1930, in 1987.[9] Retrospectives showcasing her work include Martha Walter, at the George Thomas Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN in 1953; Martha Walter, Hammer Galleries, New York, NY, in 1974-1975; and Impressionist Jewels: The Painting of Martha Walter, A Retrospective, at the Woodmere Art museum in 2002.[10][8]

Further reading[edit]

  • Alterman, James M. (2005). New hope for American art : a comprehensive showing of important 20th century painting from and surrounding the New Hope art colony. Lambertville, NJ: Jims of Lambertville. ISBN 0-9772665-0-8.
  • William H. Gerdts. "Martha Walter—A Retrospective." American Art Review, September/October 2002, Vol. 14 Issue 5, p150-192.


  1. ^ a b Paschall, W. Douglass (2002). Impressionist Jewels: The Paintings of Martha Walter. Philadelphia, Pa.: Woodmere Art Museum. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Martha Walter". David David Gallery. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Notable Alumni". The University of the Arts Libraries. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  4. ^ a b Slack, Helen L. (1914). "Martha Walter, Painter of Joyous Children". International Studio. 52 (April): 42–45. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  5. ^ "Art Museum Notes". Academy Notes. 4 (10): 190. 1909.
  6. ^ Sternberg, Paul. "Biography from the Archives of askART".
  7. ^ a b "Martha Walter". Lilac Gallery. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  8. ^ a b Higgins, Edward (November 7, 2002). "Hidden treasures The 'Impressionist Jewels' exhibit reveals the underappreciated work of 20th-century Philadelphia painter Martha Walter". South Philly Review. Retrieved 27 March 2017.
  9. ^ Eleanor Tufts; National Museum of Women in the Arts (U.S.); International Exhibitions Foundation (1987). American women artists, 1830-1930. International Exhibitions Foundation for the National Museum of Women in the Arts. ISBN 978-0-940979-01-7.
  10. ^ "Martha Walter". CLARA: Database of Women Artists. Retrieved 28 March 2017.