John Stockton de Martelly was a lithographer*, etcher, painter, illustrator, teacher and writer. He was born in Philadelphia and studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts*; and in Florence, Italy, as well as the Royal College of Art* in London.
In the 1930s and 1940s, he taught printmaking at the Kansas City Art Institute* to the same students who studied painting with Thomas Hart Benton. De Martelly became a close friend of Benton, and was influenced by his Regionalist* style. When Benton was fired from the Art Institute, the Board of Governors offered de Martelly Benton’s job as head of the Painting Department. De Martelly was furious and quit.
De Martelly’s lithographs, sold through the Associated American Artists* Galleries in New York in the 1930s and 1940s, captured the essence of the rural American landscape.
Eventually, de Martelly took a position as artist-in-residence at Michigan State University in East Lansing. By the late 1940s, he abandoned Regionalism for Abstract Expressionism* and closely studied Honore Daumier.