Xavier Martinez (1869-1943)
Xavier Martinez was born in Guadalajara, Mexico in 1869 and moved to San Francisco with his family when his step-father was selected Consul-General from Mexico. In San Francisco Martinez enrolled in the School of Design where he earned high honors and a scholarship to study abroad in Paris at the Ecole des Beaux Arts with James McNeill Whistler.
Upon his return to San Francisco, Martinez opened a studio in San Francisco in 1901, establishing himself as both a fine tonal artist and a colorful local character.
Martinez was instrumental, with Charles Rollo Peters and William Keith in the founding of the Del Monte Art Gallery in Monterey, the first gallery devoted to the works of early California artists. When his studio was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake and fire, Martinez moved across the Bay to Piedmont. Shortly thereafter Martinez took a teaching position at the California College of Arts and Crafts, a job he’d keep until a year before his death in Oakland in 1943.