Gilbert M. Fletcher Biography

Gilbert M. Fletcher




Lafayette Gilbert M. Fletcher Jr. was born 24 March 1883 on his family's farm near Mankato. His father, Lafayette G. M. Fletcher Sr., was a prominent Mankato businessman, and his mother, Susan Dyer Fletcher, was one of the first instructors at the Mankato State Normal School.

Fletcher's training in art began after he left Mankato to attend the Minneapolis Art School in 1908. He would later study at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and the Institute of Design in New York City. His occupational focus was on commercial art. He contributed to the New York Tribune, and Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and the Philadelphia Record.

He was a pioneer in color linoleum block printing.  In the early 1920’s he began cutting blocks from both wood and linoleum and working larger and larger as his skill increased.  Some of his blocks reached 6 feet by 6 feet and were printed on fabrics and other textiles

Fletcher's most memorable block print is his "The Ship and Wave Crest", done in silver and gray on mohair, which is part of the Metropolitan Museum of New York City's permanent collection.

In 1922, Fletcher became the art editor for the New York Herald, and remained in this position until he joined the New York Tribune.  In 1926 the February Ladies’ Home Journal featured “Gilbert Fletcher’s Distinguished Block Prints For Wall Hangings and Screens.”

Fletcher moved out of New York City, and to Towners, New York, where he remodeled an old gristmill and used it as his studio until 1928. Ill health forced Fletcher to move to New Mexico. He died of tuberculosis at the Southwestern Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque on 30 October 1933.