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 Martin Jacob Jackson  (1871 - 1955)

About: Martin Jacob Jackson


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Lived/Active: California      Known for: portrait, landscape painting, illuminator

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BIOGRAPHY for Martin Jackson
1871 (Newburgh, New York)
1955 (Los Angeles, California)


Denver Studio

Often Known For
portrait, landscape painting, illuminator

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The California Art Club
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following is from Benida Solow, granddaughter of the artist:

Martin Jacob Jackson (1871-1955) was a very versatile artist. Born in Newburgh, NY, he studied at Cooper Union; the National Academy of Design with E.M. Ward; in Brussels; Antwerp; with Comelli in London; and with Edel in Paris. From 1895 - 1900 Mr. Jackson was an acclaimed costume designer for the theatre in London. He returned to New York where he continued his work as a costume designer for a short time.

He then moved to Denver, CO where he taught painting and drawing and became Head of the Denver University Art Department (1900-1906).  He also worked as a commercial artist doing illustrations, Illuminated Manuscripts and ad designs. In 1904 he married Blanche Kline, and in 1906, the couple relocated to Los Angeles, where he painted small "sketches" in the field, traveled up and down the coast of California, later returning to his studio (first at the Copp Building and then at the historic Bradbury Building 1916-1955), where he would paint the larger landscapes, seascapes or scenes from Los Angeles' Old Chinatown.

Jackson became known for his portraits and was sought out for his exquisite Illuminations by such notables as Presidents: Taft, Wilson, T. Roosevelt; Queen Victoria and King Edward the VII. In 1923 he was the first president of the L.A. Art League, and a charter member of the CAC.

He was chosen to do the artwork for the X Olympiad in Los Angeles (1932) and Illuminated invitations for the dignitaries of over 60 countries, including the one inviting Pres. Hoover to open the Games at the newly built Coliseum.

His work has been exhibited at Waldorf-Astoria, NY; Grand Central Palace, NY; Pittsburgh Art Society; Cincinnati Art Museum; St. Louis Art Museum; Chicago Art Institute; Herron Art Institute, San Francisco Palace of Fine Art; Los Angeles Museum of Art; Laguna Beach Art Gallery.

He received a silver medal for painting at the Alaska-Yukon-Pac. Expo, Seattle; and a bronze medal for his Olympiad artwork. His painting style was representational and mostly impressionist. He frequently painted with other plein-air painters in Laguna Beach where his daughter still owns the cottage that was built in 1932. Mr. Jackson died in Los Angeles at the age of 84.

The Clark Memorial Library in Pasadena, CA has 6 of his Illuminated Manuscripts and President Hoover's X Olympiad Illuminated Invitation is at the Hoover Library in Washington I believe.

Original documents belonging to MJ Jackson,
Who Was Who in American Art by Peter Falk
Newspaper clippings.
Note from Benida Solow relative to the fact there are two Martin Jacksons that have been confused with each other:

As a result of the bulletin I posted on your site, I got contacted by a woman who had bought some paintings from Freeman's (auction house in Philadelphia). We emailed one another a bit and then she put me in touch with a woman who she said had known my grandfather. I called the woman and we discovered that there were 2 distinct Martin Jacksons. Martin Jackson from Philadelphia and Martin Jacob Jackson, my grandfather.

My grandfather, Martin Jacob Jackson, never lived in PA and the auction houses in PA have been selling the other Martin Jackson's paintings.

Thanks to your website I have not only discovered this, but I was contacted by a woman in Delaware who has owned a painting by my grandfather for over 12 years but he had signed it MJ Jackson and she never knew his full name. She sent me a photo of the painting and sure enough it was one of my grandfather's. . . . By being able to post the bulletin on AskART I have made a lot of progress in my research on my grandfather. It has been very exciting for my whole family. Thank you. Finding paintings of his that are all over the country is like finding lost children. It is really wonderful!

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Born in Newburgh, NY on April 12, 1871. Jackson studied art in NYC at the Cooper Union and NAD followed by five years of study in Brussels, Antwerp, London, and Paris. From 1901-06 he headed the art department at the University of Denver. He then settled in Los Angeles and became a vital force in the local art scene. He was a founder of the California Art Club and the Laguna Beach Art Gallery, first president of the Los Angeles Art League, and the official artist for the 1932 Olympics. A versatile artist, he painted portraits, marines, landscapes, Chinatown genre, and did costume design, jewelry, stained glass, and illuminations. Jackson died in Beverly Hills on July 10, 1955. Exh: Blanchard Hall (LA), 1906; Nicholson Gallery (Pasadena), 1906; Rembrandt Club (Pomona College), 1907; Steckel Gallery (LA), 1908; Alaska-Yukon Expo (Seattle), 1909 (silver medal); Friday Morning Club (LA), 1910; Calif. Art Club, 1906-12; Cannon Art School (LA), 1913; SWA, 1914; SFAA, 1917; NY Society of Independent Artists, 1925; Freelance Art League (LA), 1925; Artists Fiesta (LA), 1931; Olympiad (LA), 1932 (bronze medal). In: Reading (PA) Museum; Orange County (CA) Museum; Reading (PA) Museum; Amherst College.
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; California State Library (Sacramento); Southern California Artists (Nancy Moure); American Art Annual 1905-33; Who's Who in American Art 1936-41; Dictionary of American Painters, Sculptors & Engravers (Fielding, Mantle); Los Angeles Times, 7-13-1955 (obituary).
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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