Martin Baer was born in Chicago on January 3, 1894. He attended the Chicago Art Institute from 1910-1914. After graduation, Martin and his brother, George officially opened the Holbein Studios, later known as the Anarchist Studios. The studio closed in 1921, and Baer went to Munich, Germany attending the Academy and studying with M. Heymann.
In 1924 Baer went to Paris and met many important artists including Picasso, Soutine and Kremin. Between 1924 and 1940, Baer was based in Paris while taking extended trips to Algeria, Spain, England, Belgium and Holland. In December of 1940, Baer left for New York, and settled in Carmel, California in 1941.
In Carmel, he became one of the Directors of the Carmel Art Association, showing regularly with one-man exhibits at museums in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. Baer also developed a strong friendship with Edward Weston. In December 1947, Baer moved to San Francisco, opening three studios between 1947 and 1961. During this time, he developed friendships with Harry Jacobus, Hayward King, John Langley Howard and Howard Hack. Baer died February 14, 1961 in San Francisco.
His exhibition record includes Galleries Durand-Ruel (Paris 1926), Art Institute of Chicago (1926), Gallerie Jeune Peinture (Paris 1928), Galerie de la Renaissance (Paris 1932), Gallery M. Benezit (Paris 1936), Newhouse Galleries (New York 1928, 1936, 1941) His last one-man show was held at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco 1943). A retrospective entitled “A Memorial Exhibition of Paintings by Martin Baer” was held at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (San Francisco 1963).