Obituary for Martin Linsey, Cleveland Artist
Received tonight from his family:
Obituary for Martin Louis Linsey of Los Lunas, New Mexico
Deceased on March 3, 2010
Martin Louis Linsey of Los Lunas, New Mexico, was born on November 20, 1915, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Dr. and Mrs. Philip Robert Linsey. He is preceded in death by his parents, a brother, Dr. Eugene Victor Linsey, and his first wife, Arline Frances (Schwartz) Linsey. He is survived by his wife, Maria Major Linsey, two sons, Robert Henry Linsey of St. Louis, Missouri, and David Martin Linsey of London, England, and a daughter, Elizabeth Arline Linsey of Aberdeen, North Carolina. Additional surviving family includes a nephew, Peter Linsey of Park City, Utah, two nieces, Barbara (Linsey) Monahan of Bozeman, Montana, and Susan (Linsey) Binsfeld of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, four step-children, eight step-grandchildren and four step-great grandchildren.
Martin’s childhood included an unending exposure to musicians, painters, sculptors and architects who visited the family homes in Cleveland Heights and Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, and instilled in him the love of art and music at an early age. After graduating from Cleveland Heights High School he attended Western Reserve University and the Cleveland School of Art.
Impatient with school, however, he took the first of many odysseys working on boats in the Caribbean, painting watercolors and oils of street scenes in Miami, shrimp boats in St. Augustine, and beach scenes in Key West, Florida. His body of work from that period also reflects trips to The Bahamas; the yacht basin in Nassau as well as native villages. He traveled to Mexico in a Model A Ford, served as First Mate on a small freighter bound for Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a Deckhand on a shark-fishing boat to Central America and as an Illustrator aboard a banana boat.
While in the Bahamas on a native fishing boat he was to learn of the attack on Pearl Harbor. He tried to enlist in the Marine Corps but was rejected, of all things, for being color-blind. The 661st Army Combat Engineers, however, were willing to accept a color-blind artist and Martin subsequently found himself producing maps in the combat zones of Italy, France and Germany.
Even in a war zone he was able to paint watercolors which were sent to Cleveland. An art critic was prompted to write that Martin Linsey tried to block out the horrors of war by painting lovely villages that had escaped war damage, with his works attesting to the beauty he always found and sought to express.
After the war he returned to the Bahamas to paint and sail while living, for a time, on a fourteen-foot dinghy. Upon return to Cleveland he resumed his schooling, earning a Bachelors of Education in Secondary Art and a Masters in Art History at Western Reserve University. He then worked at a variety of jobs in the fields of photography and industrial design. He worked for the architectural firm of Dalton and Dalton as a delineator and model-maker and, in 1960, joined the staff of the Education Department of the prestigious Cleveland Museum of Art where he was to remain for the next twenty years.
He traveled to Europe some thirteen times and photographed some of the most historical and world-renowned buildings and sites for lecture use. Many of his watercolor paintings emanate from that period. His body of work includes photographs housed at many universities throughout the United States and have been represented in many publications throughout the world. He has won numerous awards for his watercolors, many of which are in private and corporate collections including the American Red Cross, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Standard Fruit and Steamship Company.
After retirement he and Arline settled in Scottsdale, Arizona. After Arline’s death, he met Maria Major with the couple marrying in 1987. They resettled in New Mexico with the sailboats being replaced with four-wheel ATV’s and the seas being supplanted by the expansive skies of New Mexico. Much of their spare time was spent on the ranches of Martin’s brother-in-law, Buddy Major, and he found himself photographing the branding corrals and cowboys. He lent his expertise at painting to Maria who is an artist as well. He introduced her to Europe and taught her to sail. Maria, in turn, showed him the ranch roads of New Mexico.
Martin Linsey was a soft-spoken, quiet, gentle, kind and refined man. He loved his art and was happiest when he was painting or relating his many adventures and travels to friends and family. He could find beauty in a street scene or landscape that many would miss. In recent years you would often find him sketching in the little villages of New Mexico or close to home.