Agnes Martin - Contemporary Art Part II New York Thursday, May 14, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    EVO Gallery, Santa Fe

  • Catalogue Essay

    "Moments of perfection are indescribable but a few things can be said about them.  At such times we are suddenly very happy and we wonder why life ever seemed troublesome.  In an instant we can see the road ahead free from all difficulties and we think that we will never lose it again.  All this and a great deal more in barely a moment, and then it is gone.  …  Perfection, of course, cannot be represented.  The slightest indication of it is eagerly grasped by observers.  The work is so far from perfection because we ourselves are so far from perfection.  The oftener we glimpse perfection or the more conscious we are in our awareness of it the farther away it seems to be.  Or perhaps I should say the more we are aware of perfection the more we realize how very far away from us it is.  That is why art work is so very hard.  It is a working through disappointments and a growing recognition of failure to the point of defeat.  But one still wakes in the morning, and there is the inspiration and one goes on."
    from D. Schwarz, ed.,  Agnes Martin: Writings–Schriften, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1991, pp 68-69

  • Artist Biography

    Agnes Martin

    American • 1912 - 2004

    Known for her deeply soothing and intricately ordered abstractions, painter Agnes Martin developed an artform that was deeply influenced by Zen Buddhism, American Transcendentalism, and the placid complexity of the landscape. Martin produced a body of work distinguished by its use of orderly grids and calm lines executed in a soothing and organic palette. While she has been associated with both the Abstract Expressionists and the Minimalists, Martin’s painting evades classification; she charted new terrain that existed outside of the traditional conventions of the painterly avant-garde, producing a novel artform that envelops the viewer in its soothing totality, creating an effect much like the entrancement produced by the relentless sound of crashing waves.

    Martin’s work is intimately tied to place and pattern. Throughout her career, she worked between the arid deserts of Taos, New Mexico and the concrete canyons of Lower Manhattan. The work Martin produced in each place reflects the material experiences of localized being, tempered by manifestations of the artist’s lifelong habits of meditation and her adherence to Buddhist and Transcendentalist teachings. Martin’s work was widely celebrated during her lifetime, as she was represented by the prestigious Betty Parsons Gallery, but it has experienced in recent years a renaissance of public opinion with recent retrospectives at Tate, London in 2015 and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 2016.

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circa 1985
Watercolor, ink and graphite on onionskin paper. 
9 3/4 x 9 7/8 in. (24.8 x 25.1 cm).

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $140,500

Contemporary Art Part II

15 May 2009, 10am
New York