Martel, Paul Jean

Born in Belgium in 1879, Paul Jean Martel sailed to Philadelphia in 1889.  After arriving in the United States, his mother worked as a cook for the Charlotte Pendleton of Chestnut Hill.  It was Mrs. Pendleton who noticed the young boy's passion for painting and urged his mother to send him to an art academy. 

Martel went to Belgium in 1897 to enter the Academie Royale des Beaux Arts in Bruxelles.  During this period, his education was enhanced by trips to Paris, Amsterdam, and Dusseldorf.  He graduated from the Academie in 1906 and returned to Philadelphia, where he continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts under Thomas Anshutz. 

In 1911, Martel married Muriel Ramont, and the couple traveled throughout Britain, France, and Belgium before settling in Audergehm.  He exhibited at the Bruxelles Galerie Artis in 1919; Salon Triennal, Antwerp in 1920; Bruxelles Salle Aeolien in 1921; and the Salle des Fetes Parc de la Citadelle, Ghent inn 1922.

After 12 years, Martel returned to Philadelphia in 1923.  He received many portrait commissions from such notable families as the DuPonts, the Biddles, and the Mathers.  He exhibited frequently at the Warwick Galleries Dooner Studios, the Philadelphia Art Club, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the Philadelphia Sesqui-Centennial in 1926, Newman Galleries, Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Art Institute of Chicago. 

Aside from painting, Martel executed a number of stained glass window for churches in Boston, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.  In 1926, he held life-drawing classes in his Chestnut Street studio, and in 1936 taught art at the Mary Lions Girls School in Swarthmore.

Martel died in Philadelphia in 1944.