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 Martin Grelle  (1954 - )

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Lived/Active: Texas      Known for: western genre and landscape painting, mural

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born and raised on a central Texas farm near Clifton, Martin Grelle became a noted painter of western scenes and an elected member of the Cowboy Artists of America.  He has also done murals including one for Trinity Lutheran Church in Clifton, a town where he has continued to live.

He studied at McLennan Community College and has taken numerous workshops.

Living in a rural area, he grew to respect nearby Scandinavian families and early in his art work, depicted these toiling people.  However he expanded his subject matter to more western subjects when he began painting and studying with Jim Boren and Mel Warren, western artists who moved to Clifton.  Later he joined these two men as members of the Cowboy Artists of America.

Grelle is the 2002 and 2005 winner of the Prix de West Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City.

Source:
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Contemporary Western Artists
Southwest Art



Biography from Jackson Hole Art Auction:
Martin Grelle, b. 1954, Clifton, Texas, (United States)

Born and raised in Clifton, Texas, Martin Grelle still lives on a small ranch a few miles from town. His studio sits in the picturesque Meridian Creek Valley, surrounded by the oak & cedar-covered hills of Bosque County, just a short distance from his home, but also within a few miles of the family and friends who are so important in his life. He has two sons, Josh & Jordan, who have left home to pursue their own dreams, but who stay in touch frequently. Martin’s parents, Ervin & Ella, have both passed from this life, but he still has his brothers, Carl & Marvin, living nearby, as well as his sister, Mary, who lives in Ft. Worth.

Martin began drawing and painting when he was very young, and was fortunate to have James Boren and Melvin Warren, two professional artists and members of the Cowboy Artists of America, move to the area when he was still in high school, and it has had a lasting impact on his direction and career. Mentored by Boren, he had his first one-man show at a local gallery within a year of graduating from high school in 1973. In the nearly 40 years since that time, he has produced some 30 one-man exhibitions, including annual shows in Scottsdale, Arizona since 1989, and has won awards of both regional and national importance at shows around the country.

He was invited into membership with the Cowboy Artists of America in 1995, fulfilling a dream begun in the early 70’s when he first met Boren and Warren. That same year he was invited to participate in the first Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. Since that time he has won the Prix de West Purchase Award, twice (one of only seven artists to do so), the Nona Jean Hulsey Rumsey Buyers’ Choice Award, twice, the CA People’s Choice Award in 2002, the CA Ray Swanson Award in 2008, the CA Buyers’ Choice Award in 2011 and 2012, and the Silver Award for Water Solubles in 2012. He was awarded the Legacy Award by The Briscoe Museum in 2012, for his impact on western art.

Other major invitational exhibitions and sales Martin has participated in include The Masters at the Autry Museum in Los Angeles, and the inaugural Quest for the West at the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, the Coeur d’Alene Auction, and the Jackson Hole Art Auction. Martin has also been featured in a number of publications throughout his career, including multiple appearances in the following magazines: Art of the West, Western Art Collector, Southwest Art, Western Art and Architecture, Persimmon Hill, American Cowboy, Western Horseman, Informant, Wild West, and True West's magazine’s 2011 Best of the West Source Book. He was honored with a retrospective showing of his work, along with fellow CA artist, Herb Mignery, for the Gilcrease Museum’s Rendezvous Show 2013.

Martin has a real sense of responsibility to his collectors, which fills his heart every morning when he walks into the studio, believing that what he does is a gift entrusted to him from God, and must not be left unused or taken for granted, but developed and improved upon. His parents and Jim and Mary Ellen Boren, all set that example for him – an example of not only striving to be the best artist he can be, but the best man he can be as well.

Beyond his studio, Martin strives to pass on what others have passed to him. He has given multiple demonstrations around the country, teaches an annual weekend workshop along with his good friend, and fellow CA, Bruce Greene – which they have done for 22 years straight - and mentors other aspiring artists by critiquing their work. He has donated work to a large number of organizations to aid in their progress, including The Bosque Arts Center in Clifton, Texas.

He has twice served on the board of directors for the CA organization and is currently serving as President. He is also involved with The Joe Beeler Foundation, founded by the Cowboy Artists of America to coincide with their mentoring program, which provides scholarship opportunities for artists seeking to improve their skills, and has served as President of the Foundation for the past year as well.

Education
• Self-taught; mentored by James Boren
• Cowboy Artists of America Museum, Kerrville, TX, Workshop, Harvey Johnson/Melvin Warren, 1983
• Bosque Conservatory, Clifton, TX, Workshop, Bettina Steinke

Selected Exhibitions
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de West, Oklahoma City, OK, 1995-2014
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Cowboy Artist of America Exhibition, Oklahoma City, OK, 2011-2014
• Gilcrease Museum, Rendezvous Artists’ Retrospective and Art Sale, Tulsa, OK, 2013
• Phoenix Art Museum, Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition & Sale, Phoenix, AZ, 1996-2010
• Autry National Center, Masters of the American West, Los Angeles, CA, 2000-2005, 2007, 2009
• Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians & Western Art, Quest for the West Exhibition, Indianapolis, IN, 2006
• Evening of Art, McKinney, TX, 1988-1989
• Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Show, Waco, TX, 1985
• American Indian & Cowboy Artists (AICA), San Dimas, CA, 1977-1983
• Phippen Museum, George Phippen Memorial Outside Show, Prescott, AZ, 1977

Selected Press
• Western Art & Architecture, The Messenger, April/May, 2014
• Western Art Collector, Respect the Culture, April, 2014
• Western Art Collector, Silver Anniversary, April, 2013
• Western Art Collector, Everyday Lives, April, 2012
• Western Art Collector, Martin Grelle’s Annual Exhibition, June, 2011
• Western Art Collector, Pride of the Crow, April, 2011
• Western Art Collector, Event Report: Martin Grelle, June, 2010
• Western Art Collector, Draw of the West, April, 2010
• Western Art Collector, Homage to the American West, March, 2009
• Western Art Collector, Pride of the Plains, March, 2008
• Western Art Collector, Premier Issue, Martin Grelle: Sheer Magic!, 2007
• Persimmon Hill
• Art of the West
• American Cowboy
• Southwest Art
• Western Horseman
• Art Talk

Selected Publications
• Cowboy Artists of America, Michael Duty, 2002
• Leading the West, One Hundred Contemporary Painters & Sculptors, Donald J. Hagerty, 1997
• Contemporary Western Artists, Harold & Peggy Samuels, 1982

Selected Collections
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK

Awards
• Gilcrease Museum - Rendezvous Retrospective, 2013
• Briscoe Western Art Museum, Legacy Award, San Antonio, TX, 2012
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Cowboy Artist of America Exhibition, Buyers Choice, Oklahoma City, OK, 2012
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Cowboy Artist of America Exhibition, Silver Award for Water Solubles, Oklahoma City, OK, 2012
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Cowboy Artist of America Exhibition, Buyers Choice, Oklahoma City, OK, 2011
• Phoenix Art Museum, Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition & Sale, Ray Swanson Memorial Award, “Newlyweds,” Phoenix, AZ, 2008
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de West, Nona Jean Hulsey Buyer’s Choice, “Dust in the Distance,” Oklahoma City, OK, 2006
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de west, Purchase Award, “Two Coups”, Oklahoma City, Ok, 2005
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de West, Nona Jean Hulsey Buyer’s Choice, “Signs Along the Snake,” Oklahoma City, OK, 2004
• Greeley Stampede Western Invitational Art Exhibit & Sale, Artist’s Choice Award, Greeley, CO, 2003
• Greeley Stampede Western Invitational Art Exhibit & Sale, Buyer’s Choice Award, Greeley, CO, 2003
• Phoenix Art Museum, Cowboy Artists of America Exhibition & Sale, People’s Choice Award, “Monarchs of the North”, Phoenix, AZ, 2002
• National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Prix de West, Purchase Award, “Teller of Tales,” Oklahoma City, OK, 2002
• Evening of Art, Best of Show, McKinney, TX, 1989
• Evening of Art, Best Work in Opaque Painting, McKinney, TX, 1988
• Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Show, Silver Award for Oils, Waco, TX, 1985
• Texas Ranger Hall of Fame Show, Artist Award, Waco, TX, 1985
• American Indian & Cowboy Artists (AICA), 3rd Annual Exhibition, Gold Medal for Drawing, San Dimas, CA, 1979
• American Indian & Cowboy Artists (AICA), 3rd Annual Exhibition, Best of Show, Lloyd Mitchell Memorial Award, San Dimas, CA, 1979
• American Indian & Cowboy Artists (AICA), Bronze Medal for Drawing, 1st Annual Exhibition, San Dimas, CA, 1977
• Phippen Museum, Silver Award for Water Color, George Phippen Memorial Outside Show, Prescott, AZ, 1977

Affiliations
• Cowboy Artists of America, 1995-Present
• Cowboy Artists of America, President
• American Indian & Cowboy Artists (AICA), 1977-1983

Biography from Altermann Galleries and Auctioneers, II:
Born and raised in the foothills surrounding his hometown of Clifton, Texas, Martin Grelle grew up with a deep desire to capture on canvas the beauty of his home.  Inspired by the flavor of the small town and its people, Grelle began to paint at an early age, and at eighteen sought professional criticism from noted Cowboy Artist James Boren.

As a teenager, Grelle grew to respect nearby Scandinavian families and depicted these toiling people in his early works.  However, he expanded his subject matter to more western subjects when he began painting and studying with James Boren and Mel Warren, western artists who moved to his hometown, Clifton.  Later, in 1995, he joined these two men as a member of the Cowboy Artists of America.

Although the majority of his paintings express the serenity surrounding the town of Clifton, where he and his son Joshua reside, Grelle has enjoyed traveling throughout much of the United States and also parts of Europe in search of new vistas to capture with his brushes.  He says, “I have always been drawn to the mountains because of their grandeur. Whenever I paint people in a mountain or wilderness setting, I try to convey the larger-than-life effect that the landscape must have had on those individuals.”

Working in a variety of media, but particularly with oils, Grelle characteristically paints with a moderate amount of detail, striving to emphasize color and texture as a means of creating a visual image.  He most enjoys dramatic light and shadow effects, but he is equally at home painting the effects of rain and fog.  He has in recent years become more and more drawn to doing what he calls “period” paintings, using historical settings and incidents to develop visual stories.

Believing that his ability to paint is a precious gift for which he has a responsibility, Grelle strives continuously to achieve a level of excellence in his work; “I believe you have to set your sights high to be successful.”  As the 2002 winner of the Prix de West Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center in Oklahoma City, it seems that Grelle knows what he’s talking about.


Sources include:
AskArt.com, Cowboy Artists of American publication, Contemporary Western Artists by Peggy and Harold Samuels

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.


Martin Grelle is also mentioned in these AskART essays:
Western Painters



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