Passing of Founding Faculty Member Roger Martin

March 16, 2015

 “I can only speak for myself, but as I was teaching I was learning.” – Roger Martin

We celebrate the life of Roger Hemenway Martin, Jr., a Founding Faculty Member of Montserrat College of Art. He passed away on March 14 at age 89. A painter, poet and author, Roger taught at Montserrat for more than 20 years. During his tenure, he embodied the essence of College’s mission and spirit. He was among a group of artists who strived to breathe life into their idea of a new kind of professional education in the visual arts – a school that would not only focus on the arts, but would also focus on the individual needs of each student.

Alumna Heidi Daub ’82 recently reflected on a conversation she had with Roger during one of her last weeks before graduating. They were discussing her plans after Montserrat and he said, “The world needs someone to carry the torch of being a painter, of seeing the world as an artist sees. Who else but you is going to do this?” This teaching moment was only one of the countless lessons Roger had shared with his students. His indelible spirit is recorded and present within the many students and colleagues that he taught and mentored during his career.

Roger pursued to understand life through his work, while also wanting to sweep the viewer into his large and truly magnificent paintings. Born in 1925, he graduated from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Before he became a painter, he was an illustrator contributing to such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times and Atlantic Monthly, among others. In addition to his Montserrat career, Roger was always a prolific painter and writer. He authored several books on Rockport’s history and was the poet laureate of Rockport. Since retiring in 1989, he continued to paint and draw many works inspired by the surroundings of Cape Ann.

An exhibition of Roger’s work is currently on view in Bill of Lading: The Art & Poetry of Roger Martin at the Cape Ann Museum in Gloucester and will remain on display through June 28. To learn more about Roger and view his art, visit rogermartinpainter.com.

His funeral will be held on Saturday, March 28 at 1 pm in Rockport Congregational Church, 12 School Street, Rockport, MA.