Born Henri Étienne-Martin 4 February 1913 in Loriol, Drôme, France, Étienne Martin attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts de Lyon from 1929 to 1933, where he met Marcel Michaud. He moved to Paris in 1934, working at the studio of Charles Malfray at the Académie Ranson where he came into contact with such painters as Roger Bissière, Jean Le Moal, Jean Bertholle, Alfred Manessier, Zelman, Véra Pagava, and the sculptor François Stahly. With them, he became part of the group Témoignage, which had exhibitions in Paris in 1938 and 1939. He worked primarily in wood and plaster, creating works inspired by his childhood memories of his home in Loriol.Later sculpture included bronze, string, and textiles.
During World War II Étienne Martin was a prisoner in Germany and was liberated in 1941. In 1942 he traveled to Oppède with Stahly et Zelman and then in 1943-1944 he went to Dieulefit, Drôme where he met the writer Henri-Pierre Roché. Next he moved to Mortagne-au-Perche, Normandy. On his return to Paris in 1947 he lived with Roché, and he met Brâncuși and Gurdjieff. Over the next dozen years he became spiritual, practicing Eastern religions including Taoism.
In 1984 an exhibition bringing together all his Demeures was held at the Pompidou Center in Paris. In 2010, June to September, a new exhibition at the Pompidou Center, paid respect to the artist by showing fifteen sculptures, drawing, personal notebooks, and photographs of his studio.He died in 1995 from cardiac arrest.Wikipedia