Artist Search
a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z 

 Martha Farham Cahoon  (1905 - 1999)

About: Martha Farham Cahoon


Examples of her work


Quick facts

Exhibits - current  




Book references

Magazine references pre-2007


Discussion board

Signature Examples*

Buy and Sell: Martha Farham Cahoon
  For sale ads

Auction results*


Wanted ads

Auctions upcoming for her*  


Auction sales graphs*


What's my art worth?

Magazine ads pre-1998*  

Market Alert - Free

Lived/Active: Massachusetts      Known for: primitive-surreal genre

Login for full access
View AskART Services

*may require subscription
BIOGRAPHY for Martha Cahoon
1905 (Rosindale, Massachusetts)


   Share an Image of the Artist

Often Known For
primitive-surreal genre

Discussion Board
Would you like to discuss this artist?
AskART Discussion Boards
(1 Active)

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born of Swedish immigrant parents in 1905, in Rosindale, Massachusetts, Martha Farham Cahoon had a highly successful business partnership with her husband Ralph Cahoon on Cape Cod, selling furniture decorated with folk design motifs.

She came from a family that had moved to Harwich on Cape Code when she was ten years old. She excelled in school, but chose an apprenticeship with her father, Axel Farham, who was a talented furniture decorator working for some of the best-known decorating firms in Boston. Under his guidance, she mastered a freehand method of decorative painting called rosemaling, and later became proficient in stenciling and varnishing.

In 1932, she married Ralph Cahoon, a trained commercial artist from Chatham, Cape Cod, and after her marriage, she continued working with her father until she and Ralph bought a house in Osterville, Massachusetts. Their business life together began as they restored, decorated, and sold antique furniture. In 1945, they purchased and restored a Georgian colonial farmhouse in Santuit, Massachusetts.

Their earlier works reflected traditional patterns of Pennsylvania Dutch and Swedish painted furniture, however they later began painting entire scenes on the fronts of secretaries and bureaus. In 1953, the Cahoon's framed many works of a wealthy customer, Joan Whitney Payson. Later they made a transition from furniture to easel painting, and exhibited their work in Payson's Long Island art gallery.

It was a successful transition for the Cahoon's, as were the years of productivity that followed. The material they first used was plywood, but later they favored masonite, whose surface better resembled that of the furniture they were used to decorating. Their individual styles were very similar, primarily pastel in tone, using greens, soft pinks, grays, and browns, with no attempt to use light or shade to create a third dimension.

The 'mermaid' became Ralph Cahoon's hallmark in the 1960s. His imagination and creativity using this motif knew no bounds, using mermaids to play golf, fish, knit, pose for photographs, or hide in trees. The New England coastline or lighthouses were favorite backdrops, as were hot air balloons.

Martha's themes included still lifes, nature studies, scenes including mythological figures, and pastoral scenes reflecting the different seasons.

Michael David Zellman, "300 Years of American Art"

** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at

  go to top home | site map | site terms | AskART services & subscriptions | contact | about us
  copyright © 2000-2014 AskART all rights reserved ® AskART and Artists' Bluebook are registered trademarks

  A |  B |  C |  D-E |  F-G |  H |  I-K |  L |  M |  N-P |  Q-R |  S |  T-V |  W-Z  
  frequently searched artists 1, 2, more...  
  art appraisals, art for sale, auction records, misc artists