Martha Richler (Marf) was born in London in 1964, of Canadian parents, her father being the novelist and screenwriter Mordecai Richler. She studied at Harvard, Columbia and Johns Hopkins, and afterwards taught art history at Hunter College of the City of New York and Johns Hopkins. Richler was also a lecturer at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and in 1997 wrote A World of Art - the National Gallery’s official guide - before turning to cartooning.
Richler became a professional cartoonist in 1996, with a weekly strip called “Lucky” drawn for the London Daily Express. She subsequently became the first woman pocket cartoonist in Canada, contributing a daily news cartoon to the Toronto-based Globe and Mail during its circulation war with Conrad Black’s newly-founded National Post, and drawing a weekly arts and showbusiness cartoon called “Entertoonment.” She remained at the Globe and Mail until 2001.
Richler then returned to London, where from March 2001 she worked at the Evening Standard, drawing a pocket cartoon for the Letters page, and signing herself “Marf” because that was what her father used to call her. Richler was the first female cartoonist on Fleet Street to produce a daily cartoon.
In August 2003 Richler also acted as relief for the Evening Standard political cartoonist, Patrick Blower. In 2004 the Evening Standard ended its long tradition of political cartooning. Richler transferred her political cartooning onto the web, with her own online magazine LondonSketchbook.com, launched in September 2008, and, from October 2008, with cartoons on the political blog Politicalbetting.com.
Richler’s cartoons are also represented in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, and in the Charles Saatchi Collection. In April 2011 "City Blues", an exhibition of her cartoons on the banking crisis and the recession, opened at the Guildhall Art Gallery in London.
- Information from Martha Richler.
- Jean Morgan “Standard draws on fresh and veteran cartoon talent”, Press Gazette, 31 May 2002.
- The Observer, 14 September 2003, Business Pages p.7, “Media Diary”.
- Stephen Glover “We still have great political cartoonists, but where is the younger talent?” The Spectator, 5 June 2004, p.27.
- The Daily Telegraph, 17 June 2004, p.19, “Diary”; 1 July 2004, p.19, “Diary.”
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