Conrad Martens (1801-78) Australia

Biographical Information

Conrad Martens was born at Crutched Friars, London, 1801 the son of J. C. H. Martens, German-born consul for Austria in London. He studied in London under Copley Fielding) from about 1816.

He left England when Captain Blackwood of the Hyacinth offered him a three year cruise to India, and transferred to the. Beagle at Montevideo, after hearing that its captain wished to engage an artist in succession to Augustus Earle. Charles Darwin became his close friend during the ensuing two-year voyage. He arrived in Sydney in 1835.

He later settled in Cumberland Street, Sydney in the area known as The Rocks, and set up a studio and took pupils, among them Robert Russell, first surveyor of Melbourne.

Martens married in Sydney two years later, and supported his wife and two children entirely from his painting until he became Parliamentary Librarian in 1863, a post which he held until his death in 1878.

Two of Conrad Martens' brothers, Henry and J. W. Martens, were also artists.

A large number of his works are in the Dixon Gallery and Mitchell Library. One of the most competent early artists, his paintings are of historical interest as well as possessing fine artistic merit.

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Market Information

Sydney Harbour from Vaucluse
Highest Price:
Sydney Harbour from Vaucluse
Oil on canvas, 59.5 x 87.3 cm
The Foster's Collection of Australian Art, Sotheby's, Melbourne.
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 Total number soldNumber with imagesHighest priceRecent average price*
Paintings4840A$726,000 N/A
Works on Paper431254A$690,000 A$6,070
Prints & Graphics4523A$13,200 N/A
Objects31A$3,450 N/A

* Calculated on sales over the last three years, where there are a sufficient number of sales over that period.

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