Photographs of the Marjorie Martinet School of Art
Baltimore, Maryland: c. 1925

Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson (1897-1994) (photographer)
Frederick F. Frittita (act. 1916-1939) (photographer)
P.S. Culotta (photographer)
Collection of Photographs Related to the Marjorie Martinet School of Art
Baltimore, Maryland: c. 1925
Sepia-toned photographs
Dimensions vary
Price on Request

Collection of 11 photographs related to the Marjorie Martinet (or Martenet) School of Art in Baltimore, Maryland. Most of them have handwritten credit and descriptive information for captions on the back, along with notations that indicate they were published in a newspaper as publicity or news photos. The photographs pertain to Marjorie D. Martinet, a painter in Baltimore, and Beatrice Fenton, a sculptor in Philadelphia with whom she had a romantic relationship for 50 years beginning when they met as students at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Martinet and Fenton went on to successful careers as artists and art teachers. Martinet also operated her own art school in Baltimore from 1910 until around 1940. The photographs indicate that plein air painting and working from posed models were included in the curriculum. Two photographers from Baltimore are identified as having taken most of these pictures: Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson and Frederick F. Frittata. Both did fine art as well as commercial photography. Eareckson regularly took graduation and yearbook portraits for Baltimore colleges and universities. Frittata was for a time the staff photographer at The Baltimore News and also very active in the Pictorialist movement in the 1910s and '20s; his fine art photographs appeared in national photography publications.

A list of photographs follows:

Photographs by Frederick F. Frittita of students of the Martinet Summer School of Outdoor Painting at work at the Gwynns Falls, Baltimore, 1925

"The Martinet Summer School of Out-door Painting Fourteenth Season, 1925. The first summer art school in Maryland to pose models out-of-doors. Miss Theo Pyle, a student, posing for class. No. 1." (A group of nine female students in smocks paint a model with a parasol standing at the edge of the woods. Marjorie Martinet stands to the left of the model, wearing a straw hat. Size, caption, photo credit and publication notations verso.)

"Along the Gwynns Falls. The Monday Morning Sketch Class. No. 7." (Five students and the model, Theo Pyle, carrying a parasol, at the banks of a stream.) Size, caption, photo credit and publication notations verso.)

"Old Slave Quarters." (Students in smocks at work beside the slave quarters on the Seth Estate -- also known as the Windsor Estate. Martinet made a painting of this structure, Old Seth Slave Quarters Along the Gwynns Falls, which was exhibited in Canada at the International Exhibition of Women's Art. A painting she made of the structure is also on AskArt.com.)

Photographs by Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson of the Martinet School of Painting

All these are from the same session. One is dated 1925. All are credited to Cecilia Eareckson.

(Students in smocks paint a street scene. Marjorie Martinet, wearing a straw hat, stands at right. Photo credits hand lettered on front and verso.)

(Students in classroom with Marjorie Martinet, 3rd from left.)

(Students in classroom with Marjorie Martinet (far left).)

"Costume Model--Studio." (Students in classroom with Marjorie Martinet, 2nd from left.

"Portrait Class in Studio 1925. No. 3." (Students in classroom with Marjorie Martinet, 2nd from left.)

Photograph of Marjorie D. Martinet

"Marjorie D. Martnet. Studio 516 N. Charles St. -- Artist who has returned from Pennsylvania, where she has been painting landscapes Aug. and Sept. And who has opened her studio and Art School at 516 N. Charles Street. Please save Photograph." (Studio portrait. Crossed out inscription verso: Photo by Culotta. Please return Studio 210 E. Lexington St. Vansant Building.)

Photographs related to Beatrice Fenton
"Bronze bas-relief portrait--'Samuel Baker Symington' (Son of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Symington, Ro[d]gers Forge, Maryland. Modelled by Beatrice Fenton. Studio: 1523 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 1 Col. Sunday Art Ed. [Forge?] News."

"'Fairy Fountain' (Life-size)-(Bronze). by Beatrice Fenton. Studio: 1423 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Now beng shown in Open Air Sculpture Exhibition in Rittenhouse Square and Gardens of the Art Alliance, Philadelphia. May 3rd to June 2nd. Photo Identification: Green speckled frog. Story: June 22, 1924. Return photograph to E. E. Lantz. 2 cols. Sunday May." (Stamped Jun 23 1924.)

Marjorie D’Orsi (or Dorsey) Martinet (1886-1981) was a painter based in Baltimore, Maryland, best known for her plein air landscapes in a painterly style influenced by Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. In 1918, she changed the spelling of her surname from Martinet to Martenet, and both spellings of her name are found in references to her artwork and the art school she operated. Her talent was recognized at an early age and she was one of the youngest graduates of the Maryland Institute College of Art, receiving her degree in 1904. A year later she won a national competition for a scholarship to Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), where she studied under William Merritt Chase and Cecilia Beaux and graduated with honors and was awarded a traveling scholarship to Europe. She visited the museums and galleries of Europe accompanied by two friends she had met at PAFA, one of whom was Beatrice Fenton.

After their European trip, they returned to Philadelphia. After a brief stint teaching at Drexel Institute and PAFA, Martinet returned to Baltimore in 1911 and established the Marjorie D. Martinet School of Fine and Commercial Art, which she operated for over 50 years. She also taught art at Oldfields School for Girls, a boarding school north of Baltimore, from 1925 to 1961. Throughout her career she showed her paintings in numerous exhibitions at PAFA, the Philadelphia Art Club, the Peabody Gallery in Baltimore and others, and in 1930 was the first Baltimore artist given a solo exhibition of her work at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Her painting Old Seth Slave Quarters Along the Gwynns Falls was selected as one of 20 American paintings to be shown at the International Exhibition of Women's Art in Canada. She said at the time, “Art will be more urgently needed than ever after the war. It balances a materialistic and machine-minded age. It will be the duty of people who have known the Europe of the past to coordinate that spirit with the spirit of the modern age.”

Beatrice Fenton (1887-1983) was an accomplished sculptor, based in Philadelphia. She completed numerous commissions for fountains, tablets, memorials and other sculpture for parks, colleges, and public buildings in Baltimore, Wilmington and Philadelphia. She also taught sculpture at the Moore Institute of Art in Philadelphia. Fenton and Martinet maintained a close relationship for 50 years, exchanging passionate letters, and were romantically involved for at least some of that time even though they lived in different cities. Some of their correspondence and photographs are in the collection of the Smithsonian Institutions Archives of American Art, and were displayed as part of the 2010-2011 exhibition Lost and Found.

P.S. Culotta was a photographer in Baltimore, Maryland, active in the Photographers Association of America in the late 1910s.

References:

Clements, Dan. Baltimore Old Photos Facebook Page. 5 February 2016. https://www.facebook.com/groups/779324542159457/permalink/907219629369947/?comment_id=967206796704563¬if_t=group_comment (6 February 2016).

"Fenton and Remak families papers." Historical Society of Pennsylvania. http://www2.hsp.org/collections/manuscripts/f/Fenton3148.html (28 February 2014).

Gilbert, Dorothy B., ed. Who’s Who in American Art. New York: American Federation of Arts and R.R. Bowker, 1959. pp. 179 (Fenton) and 375 (Martinet).

"Lost and Found: The Lesbian and Gay Presence at the Archives of American Art." Archives of American Art. 2014. http://www.aaa.si.edu/exhibitions/lost-and-found (24 February 2014).

"Marjorie D'Orsi (Dorsey) Martinet." AskArt.com. http://www.askart.com/askart/artist.aspx?artist=10030 (28 February 2014).

inv_item photographer title inscription description overall price fullimage tn
1 Frederick F. Frittita The Martinet Summer School of Out-door Painting Fourteenth Season, 1925. The first summer art school in Maryland to pose models out-of-doors. Miss Theo Pyle, a student, posing for class. No. 1. (A group of nine female students in smocks paint a model with a parasol standing at the edge of the woods. Marjorie Martinet stands to the left of the model, wearing a straw hat. Size, caption, photo credit and publication notations verso.) outdoorsparasol.jpg outdoorsparasol-2.jpg
2 Frederick F. Frittita Along the Gwynns Falls The Monday Morning Sketch Class. No. 7. Five students and the model, Theo Pyle, carrying a parasol, at the banks of a stream.) Size, caption, photo credit and publication notations verso. gwynnsfalls.jpg gwynnsfalls-2.jpg
3 Frederick F. Frittita Old Slave Quarters n/a Students in smocks at work beside the slave quarters on the Seth Estate -- also known as the Windsor Estate. Martinet made a painting of this structure, Old Seth Slave Quarters Along the Gwynns Falls, which was exhibited in Canada at the International Exhibition of Women's Art. A painting she made of the structure is also on AskArt.com. A participant on the Baltimore Old Photos Facebook page says it was on Wetheredsville Road just below Windsor Mill Road, almost directly across the street from the gatehouse to the Seth mansion and demolished in 1960. oldslavequarters.jpg oldslavequarters-2.jpg
4 Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson [Students Painting a Street Scene] n/a Students in smocks paint a street scene. Marjorie Martinet, wearing a straw hat, stands at right. Photo credits hand lettered on front and verso. street.jpg street-2.jpg
5 Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson [Portrait Class in Studio, 1925] n/a Students in a portrait class with Marjorie Martinet, 3rd from left. Evidently from the same photo session as the photograph labeled verso Portrait Class in Studio 1925. studiomm3rdleft.jpg studiomm3rdleft-2.jpg
6 Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson [Portrait Class in Studio, 1925] n/a Students in a portrait class with Marjorie Martinet, far left. Evidently from the same photo session as the photograph labeled verso Portrait Class in Studio 1925. studiommleft.jpg studiommleft-2.jpg
7 Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson Costume Model — Studio (No. 9) n/a Students in a figure painting class with Marjorie Martinet, 2nd from left, standing beside a costumed female model. studio9.jpg studio9-2.jpg
8 Cecilia Norfolk Eareckson Portrait Class in Studio, 1925 (No. 3) n/a Students in a portrait class with Marjorie Martinet, 2nd from left, standing beside a male model. Evidently from the same photo session as the photograph labeled verso Portrait Class in Studio 1925. portraitclass.jpg portraitclass-2.jpg
9 P. Culotta Marjorie D. Martinet Studio 516 N. Charles St. — Artist who has returned from Pennsylvania, where she has been painting landscapes Aug. and Sept. And who has opened her studio and Art School at 516 N. Charles Street. Please save Photograph. Head shot of Martinet dressed in an artist's smock. Crossed out inscription verso: Photo by Culotta. Please return Studio 210 E. Lexington St. Vansant Building. marjorie.jpg marjorie-2.jpg
10 unknown Bronze bas-relief portrait — 'Samuel Baker Symington' Son of Mr. and Mrs. John F. Symington, Ro[d]gers Forge, Maryland. Modelled by Beatrice Fenton. Studio: 1523 Chestnut St., Philadelphia, Pa. 1 Col. Sunday Art Ed. [Forge?] News. n/a samuel.jpg samuel-2.jpg
11 unknown Fairy Fountain (Life-size) — (Bronze). by Beatrice Fenton. Studio: 1423 Chestnut St., Philadelphia. Now being shown in Open Air Sculpture Exhibition in Rittenhouse Square and Gardens of the Art Alliance, Philadelphia. May 3rd to June 2nd. Photo Identification: Green speckled frog. Story: June 22, 1924. Return photograph to E. E. Lantz. 2 cols. Sunday May. Stamped verso Jun. 23, 1924 fairy.jpg fairy-2.jpg
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