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James Stillman letters relating to Homer Dodge Martin, 1882-1898

James Stillman letters relating to Homer Dodge Martin, 1882-1898

Stillman, James, 1850-1918

Art patron, Businessperson

The James Stillman letters relating to Homer Dodge Martin in the Archives of American Art were digitized in 2009.The papers have have been scanned in their entirety and total 85 images.

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Collection Information

Size: 0.2 linear feet

Summary: The James Stillman letters from Homer Dodge Martin comprise 28 letters from Martin and his wife Elizabeth to banker and art patron James Stillman documenting Stillman's financial and practical assistance to the Martin's through consignment, exhibition and sale of Martin's artwork. The letters provide insight into Martin's experiences painting while living in Honfleur and Villerville, France, his financial struggles, and his physical and mental condition. They also reveal Elizabeth Martin's efforts as advocate for her husband's work and reputation, and her dismay at his physical and mental decline due in part to lack of financial success.

Also found are two, 1884 pencil sketches by Martin, of a view in Honfleur; 2 letters from Martin to Mr. Van Loon discussing payment for paintings; and 2 letters to Stillman from Bancel La Farge concerning Stillman's purchase of a La Farge watercolor.

The collection contains no letters from Stillman.

Biographical/Historical Note

James Stillman (1850-1918), banker and art patron, was committed to promoting the artwork of landscape artist Homer Dodge Martin and providing financial investment in and practical assistance with the logistics of handling Martin's artwork over a period of at least 16 years. Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897) was primarily a landscape painter of the Hudson River School.

Provenance

Six letters from Homer Dodge Martin were donated to AAA by Chauncey Stillman, grandson of James Stillman, in 1955 and 1959. Additional letters to Stillman from Martin, Elizabeth Martin, and Bancel La Farge, and from Martin to Mr. Van Loon, were donated by Mrs. P. S. Paine, grandaughter of James Stillman, in 1978.

Related Materials

Additional material relating to Homer Dodge Martin, including correspondence with Thomas B. Clarke and Elizabeth Martin, can be found in the Macbeth Gallery records.

Funding

Funding for the processing and digitization of this collection was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

A Finding Aid to the James Stillman Letters Relating to Homer Dodge Martin,
1882-1898
, in the Archives of American Art
AAA.stiljame
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Ashley
Scope and Content Note
The James Stillman letters relating to Homer Dodge Martin comprise 28 letters from Martin and his wife Elizabeth to banker and art patron James Stillman documenting Stillman's financial and practical assistance to the Martin's through consignment, exhibition and sale of Martin's artwork. The letters provide insight into Martin's experiences painting while living in Honfleur and Villerville, France, his financial struggles, and his physical and mental condition. They also reveal Elizabeth Martin's efforts as advocate for her husband's work and reputation, and her dismay at his physical and mental decline due in part to lack of financial success.
Also found are 2 1884 pencil sketches by Martin, of a view in Honfleur; 2 letters from Martin to Mr. Van Loon discussing payment for paintings; and 2 letters to Stillman from Bancel La Farge concerning Stillman's purchase of a La Farge watercolor.
The collection contains no letters from Stillman.
Biographical Note
Banker and art patron James Stillman, was committed to promoting the artwork of landscape artist Homer Dodge Martin and providing financial investment in and practical assistance with the logistics of handling Martin's artwork over a period of at least 16 years.
Homer Dodge Martin (1836-1897) was born in Albany, New York. He studied briefly with James Hart and spent his summers during the 1860s in the Adirondacks, the Catskills and the White Mountains, and painted landscapes from the sketches he made there in the style of the Hudson River school at his studio in New York City's Tenth Street Studio Building.
In 1876 he took his first trip to Europe and from 1882-1886 lived in Normandy, France in Honfleur and Villerville. There he was influenced both by the Barbizon school of painting and the Impressionists and his painting took on darker, more melancholy tones.
By 1897 Martin had returned to New York City and in 1893 Martin moved to St. Paul, Minnesota where, nearly blind, he painted one of his best-known works,
Adirondack Scenery
(1895) from memory.
Although never successful within his lifetime, within 2 years of his death
Adirondack Scenery
sold for $5500 and
Harp of the Winds
(1895) was aquired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Martin's paintings can be found in the collections of other important American museums including the Addison Gallery of American Art, the Albany Institute of History and Art, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Martin became a member of the National Academy of Design in 1874 and in 1877 was one of the founders of the Society of American Artists.
Arrangement
The collection is arranged as 1 series:
Series 1: James Stillman Letters Relating to Homer Dodge Martin, 1882-1898 (Box 1; 4 folders)
Provenance
Six letters from Homer Dodge Martin were donated to AAA by Chauncey Stillman, grandson of James Stillman, in 1955 and 1959. Additional letters to Stillman from Martin, Elizabeth Martin, and Bancel La Farge, and from Martin to Mr. Van Loon, were donated by Mrs. P. S. Paine, grandaughter of James Stillman, in 1978.
Processing Information
The letters were donated in 3 installments and microfilmed at some point after receipt on reels D9, D22 and 3742. All items were merged and fully processed by Stephanie Ashley in 2008, and digitized in entirety in 2009, with funding provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Additional Forms Available

The collection has been digitized and is available online via AAA's website.

Restrictions on Access

Use of original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C., Research Center. Contact Reference Services for more information.

How to Cite This Collection

James Stillman letters relating to Homer Dodge Martin, 1882-1898. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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