The Art of the Martinos

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Edward, Albert, Giovanni, Antonio, William, and Ernest, 1929 / M. Frank Martino, photographer. Giovanni Martino papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution

by CeCe Maddlone

Finding true artistry in an individual is rare.  Discovering it in an entire family is extraordinary. Whenever we think of American families with generations of exceptional artists, names like Peale and Wyeth readily come to mind. However, the Martino family of Pennsylvania has long been overlooked.  There has not been a single American family that has produced so many prolific artists as the Martinos. Determined not to become stonemasons like their father, all seven brothers became highly skilled in landscape painting, graphic  and commercial art.  Led by the eldest, Frank, the brothers opened and ran the first graphic and commercial art studio in Philadelphia. The Martino Commercial Art Studio catered to a wide variety of clientele, becoming successful enough to support the brothers and their families.  During their off hours, they continued to produce fine works of art, painting scenes of Manayunk on the banks of the Schuylkill River in northwestern Philadelphia. Antonio, Giovanni and Edmund have been classified as part of “The Pennsylvania Expressionists”, or “New Hope Group”, but several of their works defy categorization.


Giovanni Martino painting, 1952 / unidentified photographer. Giovanni Martino papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

For Giovanni Martino, the legacy expanded through his own family.  Under his tutelage, his wife, Eva Marinelli, became an accomplished artist in her own right. His daughters Nina and Babette followed along from a very young age. Gio, as Eva called him, would set out at dawn to catch the early morning sun, oftentimes with other members of the family in tow.  As a result, each one has dedicated a lifetime to creating masterful works of art. All have received the highest level awards, and have been exhibited in the most prestigious museums around the world.  


The Martino family has long ties with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA). In an effort to pass on the tradition of creating superior art, Nina Martino established the Giovanni Martino Family Scholarship Fund.  In October of 2013, a benefit auction was held to raise funds for the scholarship, as well as complete the Murray Dessner Memorial Travel Fund.  The video in this post was created not only to showcase the works donated by the Martinos, but to promote the ongoing support of arts education.

Martino Family

Babette, Giovanni, Eva and Nina, 1983



For more information on how to contribute to the
Martino Family Scholarship fund.

For more information of where to find works by the Martinos.




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