Martha Mayer Erlebacher


Martha Mayer Erlebacher was the recipient of the Newington-Cropsey Cultural Studies Center Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2010.

Ms. Erlebacher, who received an M.F.A. from Pratt Institute in 1963, has sought to reconnect art to the Western cultural tradition throughout her accomplished career as a painter and teacher. Devoted to realism, to the depiction of nature and the human figure, she goes beyond mimesis in her allegorical narratives and vanitas still lifes. Whether in her own studio or in the classroom, Ms. Erlebacher upholds the importance of studying anatomy, mythology and history to underpin a viable classical style.

Her work has been seen in many solo and group exhibitions, and her paintings are featured in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Cleveland Museum of Art, among other institutions.

She has had a formative influence on two generations of students at premier schools, including the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pratt Institute, Parsons School of Design and the New York Academy of Art, where she served as chairman of the M.F.A. program. She has lectured at YaleUniversity, Vassar College and the Pennsylvania Academyof the Fine Arts. Her many honors include a Senior Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1982 and being named Outstanding Teacher in Oil by American Artist Magazine in 1996.

A podcast interview with Ms. Erlebacher is available at

Visit Ms. Erlebacher’s website: