National Museum of Women in the Arts
Martha Walter
March 17 1875 - January 18 1976
William Merritt Chase, Portrait of Martha Walter, unknown date. Oil on canvas. Unknown dimensions. Unknown location. Courtesy of David David Gallery, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Place of Birth:
Phonetic Spelling:
MAHR-thah WAHL-terr
Minority status:
White non-Hispanic
Work Type/Media:
Artistic Role(s):
Oil Painter, Painter, Watercolorist
Artist's Biography:
Martha Walter trained and developed her penchant for plein-air painting during her frequent trips to Europe. Her vivid palette, emphasis on light and shadow, and choice of subject matter led critics to ally her with the French Impressionists.

Walter grew up in Philadelphia and attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, where she studied with William Merritt Chase. She received the Academy’s prestigious Toppan Prize in 1902 and obtained a two-year traveling scholarship to Europe. Walter attended the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris but felt restricted by the teachers’ classical approach and instead decided to enroll in the Académie Julian. She eventually set up her own studio with a group of other young American women artists in Paris.

After World War I, Walter established her reputation as a teacher in New York, Gloucester, Chicago, and Brittany, where she also had studios. In the 1930s, she traveled across North Africa painting colorful impressions of Tunisia, Tripoli, and Algiers.

Other Occupation(s):
Educator, Instructor, Teacher, Traveler
Place(s) of Residence:
Place(s) of Activity:
New York
Where Trained/Schools:
Académie de la Grande Chaumière, Paris, France (1903) Académie Julian, Paris, France (1903) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1894-1902)
Related Visual Artists:
student of William Merritt Chase student of René Menard student of Lucien Simon friend of Cecilia Beaux friend of Alice Schille
Fellowships, grants and awards:
Mary Smith Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1909) Cresson Traveling Scholarship, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1908) Toppan Prize, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA, USA (1902)
Earliest exhibition:
Le Salon, Académie des Beaux-Arts, Paris, France (1904)
NMWA exhibition(s):
Preserving the Past, Securing the Future: Donations of Art, 1987-1997
American Women Artists: 1830-1930
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts
Artist retrospective(s):
Impressionist Jewels: The Painting of Martha Walter, A Retrospective, Woodmere Art Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA (2002) Martha Walter, Hammer Galleries, New York, NY, USA (1974-1975) Martha Walter, George Thomas Hunter Museum of Art, Chattanooga, TN, USA (1953)
Related places
Moorestown (died at)
Bathing Hour
The Telegram, Detention Room, Ellis Island