Martin Lenzi was born in Walbach Rheinfelden Canton, Aargau, Switzerland in 1815. A cigar maker turned artist, he continued to produce art until the turn of the twentieth century. He died in 1898.
Lenzi migrated to Utah with Mormon pioneers in 1856. He worked as a house painter, dance instructor, and mechanic all the while painting flower and fruit still lifes. He was secretary of the Deseret Academy of the Arts in Salt Lake.
Aquarium Shells (1895) and Still Life with Grapes (1891) are part of the permanent collection of the Springville Museum of Art. Lenzi won several prizes at the Utah State Fair for his easel work.
Biography adapted from Artists of Utah.
Martin Lenzi was a Swiss convert to the Mormon Church. He arrived in the Salt Lake Valley with the J. Hoffines Company in September 1857 from Philadelphia where he had been living. Lenzi was a tobacconist by trade and was probably not a prolific painter. He was unassuming but was well known in pioneer art circles for his still-life paintings. He won prizes in the Territorial Fair and was even the janitor for the short lived Deseret Academy of Fine Art in 1863. Lenzi's work seems to have reflected the 19th century interest in trompe-l'oeil or “fool the eye“ illusionism. His painting of a pine board, grapes and leaves with such precision indicates that he was an artist of some training and talent. He might have been influenced by the work of Edwin Deakin, a California artist who came to Utah in 1883.
Biography courtesy Artists of Utah.
"Pioneer Artists: New Exhibit Features Art By Nine Early Utah Artists." The Deseret News, September 26, 1993.
Dunbier, Lonnie P., ed. The Artists Bluebook: 29,000 North American Artists. Scottsdale, AZ: AskART.com, 2003.
Olpin, Robert S. William C. Seifrit, and Vern G. Swanson. Artists of Utah. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999
Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Art. Layton, UT: Peregrine Smith Books, 1992.
Swanson, Vern G., Robert S. Olpin, and William C. Seifrit. Utah Painting and Sculpture. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1991.