Martin Lewis was born on June 7, 1881 in Castlemaine, Australia.
He was the second of eight children and he had a passion for drawing.
At the age of fifteen he left home and traveled in New South Wales and
New Zealand, working as a posthole digger and a merchant seaman before
settling into a Bohemian community outside of Sidney. Two of his drawings
were published in a radical Sydney newspaper, the Bulletin. He also
studied with Julian Ashton at the Art Society's School in Sydney. Ashton,
a famous painter, was also one the first Australian artists to take
up printmaking. Lewis visited his family in Castlemaine for the last
time in 1900 and then left for the United States. His first known job
after arriving in the United States was painting stage decorations for
the McKinley Presidential Campaign of 1900. Little is known of his early
years in this country; however, by 1909 he was living and working in
New York City. With the exception of a few years, he spent the rest
of his life in and around the city.
His earliest etching dates from 1915 but shows a technical ability that
suggests that he had been working in the medium for some time. To back
up that feeling, a friend and fellow artist, Edward Hopper, asked him
for technical advice on etching in 1915. During these early years, he
experimented with different intaglio processes including etching, aquatint,
engraving, mezzotint, and drypoint. In 1920, he left for Japan, a turning
point in his artistic career. He studied the art and culture of Japan.
During his eighteen-month stay, he spent his time painting in both oil
and watercolor. He did not work in printmaking again until 1925 when
he produced a group of etchings and drypoints depicting Japan. These
new prints led him several years later to produce many memorable images
of New York City. The period of 1925 through 1935 was his most productive,
and he produced eighty-one of the one hundred and forty-eight known
The Old Print Shop has represented the estate of Martin Lewis since
1987. We have an extensive collection of his drawings, prints, and an
occasional oil painting.
|| The Prints of Martin
Lewis: A Catalogue Raisonne
by Paul McCarron.
A complete overview of Martin Lewis' prints. The most complete biography
on the artist to date.
To order this book click here.