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Ethel Mars was born in Springfield, IL. She attended Cincinnati Art Academy meeting fellow artists/printmakers Edna B. Hopkins and Maud Hunt Squire (who later became her lifelong companion).
In 1905 Mars and Squire moved to Paris and quickly became active members in the vibrant Parisian art community. They were known to visit Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas, and it is said that Ethel Mars and Maud Hunt Squire inspired Stein’s prose “Miss Furr and Miss Skeene.” At the outset of WWI Mars and Squire left Paris and settled in Provincetown, MA., a magnet for creative minds. Other artists who arrived in Provincetown were Blanche Lazzell, B. J. O. Nordfeldt, Ada Gilmore and Mildred McMillen. These were the original group of artists to make White Line Woodcut prints, then called Provincetown prints. This new printmaking technique, which grew out of the traditional Japanese multi-block color woodcut, simplified some of the technical difficulties of registration and printing, allowing the Provincetown group to make blocks and print them in their home settings. At the end of the war, Mars and Squire returned to France moving south to Vence. Ethel Mars remained in France for the remainder of her life.
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