Reaching New Heights

Categories: 2018 September-October Issue, Figurative, Grelle, Martin, Oil, Portrait, and Wildlife.

Martin Grelle was a very nervous young man when, in 1974, just a year after he graduated from high school, he had his first art show at a gallery and frame shop in Clifton, Texas. “I had no idea what to expect,” he says. “It’s hard to remember, but I probably had, at most, eight or 10 pieces for the show, and we sold almost all of them the first evening. I had a combination of oils, charcoals, and pastels in the show, and the largest piece was probably an oil painting about 24” by 36”. It probably sold for about $300 to $500, or less, but it seemed like a huge amount back then.”

Grelle has come a long way since then—professionally, but not geographically. He still calls Clifton home, but his paintings—magnificently rendered works—now command prices he never could have dreamed of when he was just 19. In 2014, his painting, Dust in the Distance, sold at auction for $575,000, including the buyer’s premium, and earlier this year he established a record for a new painting when Chasing Thunder sold for $550,000.

Martin Grelle

Evening Vigil
Oil and Acrylic

“A few years ago I was invited to spend a few days with some friends at their place in southwestern Montana in late June. The first evening, this wonderful view of the valley below their home presented itself with all the amazing colors you see in the painting. I could imagine how it might have been to be standing there in the latter half of the 19th century. I chose to place a couple of Crow scouts in the landscape, waiting for the sun to disappear, as they scanned the vistas for any signs of activity.”

Martin Grelle

Misty Morning Guardian

“Traditionally, boys who had not yet reached the age of becoming a warrior would be given the task of watching over a camp’s horses. My main goal in this painting was to capture the feeling of the youthfulness of the boy and the wonderful light of a misty morning, as the sun breaks through the mist.”