Michael Snow
Clothed Woman (In Memory of my Father) 1963
oil and lucite on canvas
152 x 386.2 cm
Purchased 1966
National Gallery of Canada

National Gallery of Canada mourns the passing of former director Joseph Martin

Ottawa, Canada - December 9, 2003


« Le Musée a le regret d’annoncer le décès d’un ancien directeur, M. Joseph Martin » 

It is with profound sadness that the National Gallery of Canada has learned of the death of its former director, Mr. Joseph Martin.  Known for his lifelong contributions to the world of art, Mr. Martin passed away on 2 December in Montreal, at the age of 81.

Jos Martin was Director of the National Gallery of Canada from 1983 to 1986. He began his career at the National Gallery in 1970 as Curatorial Administrator and Assistant to the Chief Curator, but was promoted to Assistant Director within months. He also served as deputy director from 1977 to 1978, as International Relations Advisor from 1978-1981, and as Acting Director from 1976 to 1977, and from 1981 to 1983.

From 1973 to 1975, he was seconded to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in order to establish a UNESCO office in Venice, where he worked to preserve the Italian city’s historic buildings and artworks.

Born in St. Félicien, Quebec, in 1922 and raised in Chicoutimi, Mr. Martin studied sociology at Laval University in Quebec, and earned a PhD in Art History at the University of Paris. During his early career, he conducted an anthropological investigation into native culture in Canada, and worked as a town planner in Montreal and Ottawa. He worked variously as a translator, director, producer and investigative reporter for Radio-Canada from 1956 to 1964, and edited the French version of the Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in Canada in 1968-1970.

Fluent in English, French and Italian, Jos Martin was uniquely qualified to serve as the National Gallery’s principal negotiator with art galleries and museums around the world, arranging for international exhibitions and loans. These negotiating skills were instrumental to the development of several major exhibitions, notably Fontainebleau (16th-century art from the Louvre) in 1973, the landmark retrospective Fantin-Latour in 1984, and 1986’s Vatican Splendour: Masterpieces of Baroque Art.

A funeral ceremony for Mr. Martin will be held at Saint-Louis-de-France, at the corner of Roy and Berri Sts. in Montreal, on Thursday 11 December at 2 p.m.

Anouk Hoedeman
Senior Media and Public Relations Officer
tel. (613) 990-6835
fax (613) 990-9824