(New York, 1861-1948)
Mrs. George Washington Martin (nee Martha Lee Williams, Martin, Tennessee, 1850-1936), signed upper left and verso canvas "Irving R. Wiles 1905", oil on canvas, 27 x 22 in.; possibly original gilt wood and composition frame, original stretcher and tacking edge, some small points of flaking upper left; frame in generally good condition with some abrasions. Notes: The north-south route of the Mississippi Central Railroad was to be built through Gardner, Tennessee. Foreseeing a business opportunity, George Martin and his two brothers offered a free right-of-way to the railroad and they promptly began a plan for the town that would become their namesake, Martin, Tennessee. A well-respected businessman and politician, George Martin was instrumental is organizing two banks, one in Fulton, Kentucky established in 1883, and one in Martin, Tennessee, established in 1886. In 1877-78, he served as state senator and as representative in 1881-1882.
Irving Wiles was the talented son of artist Lemuel Wiles. Instructed by William Merritt Chase, the two later became friends. It was Wiles that was chosen by Chase to finish his paintings just prior to his death. In 1897 Wiles was elected to the National Academy of Design. He exhibited broadly and enjoyed commissions from the National Art Committee to paint the history of World War I, President Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryant and other notables.
Purportedly, there is a companion portrait of George W. Martin painted by William Merritt Chase.. Provenance: Estate of the late Martha Williams; By descent
original stretcher and tacking edge, some small points of flaking upper left; frame in generally good condition with some abrasions