Local Obituaries

Miriam Martin, Miami artist who began painting in her 70s, dies at age 98

Artist Miriam Martin celebrates her 98th birthday three days early at a party in Tampa on Feb. 16.
Artist Miriam Martin celebrates her 98th birthday three days early at a party in Tampa on Feb. 16. Via the Martin family

Miriam Martin, a well-known Miami artist who took up painting in her mid 70s, died Sunday at a retirement home in Tampa, 10 days after her 98th birthday.

Martin was born Feb. 19, 1917, and moved with her family to South Florida in the late 1950s.

From an obituary in Tuesday’s Miami Herald: “A self-taught Miami artist, Miriam was predeceased by husband Robert and was loving mother to Barbara Martin and Marian (Bob) Seymour.”

In Spring 2014, Martin moved to John Knox Village, a retirement center in Tampa, near where the Seymours live. In November, she recorded a short video and spoke about her life and career.

Miami Herald columnist Joan Fleischman wrote about Martin on June 29, 2002:

Miami may have its own Granny Moses - Miriam Martin, age 85. She took up painting in her mid-70s - grief therapy - after the death of her husband of 49 years. Now Martin’s one-bedroom condo off Biscayne Boulevard is jammed with her primitive-style canvasses. But she decided to give one away - to Rudy Giuliani, New York’s ex-mayor. It’s a cityscape - the pre-9/11 skyline, with the World Trade Center towers. Giuliani, 58, sent a personal thank-you note: “I was touched. ... Artwork is often the best preserver of memory.” Giuliani spokeswoman Sunny Mindel says he’s received thousands of paintings, posters, sculptures, books, tile trivets, blankets, etc. Much is in storage - he’s moved twice since leaving office. “Trying to figure out what we’ll do with everything.”

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