Homer Dodge Martin

born Albany, NY 1836-died St. Paul, MN 1897
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Homer Dodge Martin, © Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0001945
Also known as
  • Homer D. Martin
  • Homer Martin
Albany, New York, United States
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
Active in
  • New York, New York, United States
  • American

Painter. Martin's poetic, dreamy landscapes, painted from memory, are most closely associated with the Barbizon School. Harp of the Winds (1895) is a well known work.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Artist Biography

Homer Dodge Martin, a native of Albany, New York, was largely self-taught. He established his career with cool and tightly painted landscapes in the tradition of the Hudson River school.

In 1862 he moved to Manhattan where he became a friend of John La Farge, who encouraged Martin to soften and poeticize his style. The paintings of James McNeill Whistler also influenced Martin, as seen in the artist's use of softer, muted colors and scumbled forms with blurred edges.

From 1881 to 1886 he lived in France and felt the sway of Corot and the Barbizon plein air artists and the early work of the impressionists. A host of influences had moved him toward the depiction of abstract form stripped of all detail, growth most dramatically realized in his popular masterpiece, The Harp of the Winds (1895), a poetic study of the poplars lining the rural embankment of the Seine. This and other works were mostly produced in his studio, emotional images recollected after the event.

Throughout his life Martin had suffered a series of ailments, a deepening sense of melancholy, and progressive deterioration of his eyesight. As blindness encroached he moved to Minnesota hoping that the clear air would prove emollient; he died there in 1897.

Emery Battis Artist Biographies for the exhibition American Impressionism: Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 2000)



Media - 1912.5.1 - SAAM-1912.5.1_1 - 45177
Grand Salon Installation-Paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum
June 5, 2009November 11, 2013
This installation in the Renwick Gallery's Grand Salon displays seventy paintings from the Smithsonian American Art Museum's collection, including landscapes, portraits, and allegorical works by fifty-one American artists from the 1840s to the 1930s. Artists whose works are featured include Edward Mitchell Bannister, Romaine Brooks, Elliott Daingerfield, Daniel Garber, William Morris Hunt, George Inness, Homer Dodge Martin, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Abbott Handerson Thayer, John Henry Twachtman, and Irving R. Wiles. The room is installed salon style, with paintings hung one-atop-another and side by side.