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University of Pennsylvania Library

University of Pennsylvania Library, ca. 1930, Oil on Canvas
Paul-Jean Martel (Belgian, 1879 – 1944)

Paul-Jean Martel was born in Belgium in 1879 and later moved to Philadelphia, where he studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. He continued to travel and paint in both Brussels and Philadelphia.  In describing his work, the artist notes: "In Belgium, as we grew up, we learned to see things through the dampness of an atmosphere heavily laden with humidity and sun. We Flemish people have always painted the colour values in our air. In that respect I believe I follow the Flemish tradition."

This painting depicts the original library building of the University of Pennsylvania, now known as the Fisher Fine Arts Library. The Arthur Ross Gallery is located just inside the building's main doors.