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  • Provenance

    The Artist
    The Pace Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above in 1978

  • Exhibited

    New York, The Pace Gallery, Agnes Martin, March 5 – April 22, 1978

  • Catalogue Essay

    “All I want is a greater awareness of reality – joy and innocence.”
    Agnes Martin, 1977

    The present two lots, Untitled works on paper from 1977, feature horizontal stripes rendered in graceful colorful washes of pink, yellow and blue separated by fine graphite lines, were created by Martin after a period of six years during which she abstained from making any artwork, a hiatus that ended with the artist’s 1973 retrospective at the Philadelphia Institute of Contemporary Art. In watercolor and graphite that hover upon nearly translucent sheets of thin paper, the present lots are emblematic of Martin’s radical interpretations of the landscape surrounding the artist in New Mexico. Her meditative and spiritual lines stretch across the sheets of paper like the rolling sand dunes of the desert and the enveloping sky, persistent and brilliant in color, light, and form. The artist recalls these compositions as about “light, lightness, about merging, about formlessness, breaking down form." (Agnes Martin in Agnes Martin: The Nineties and Beyond, exh. cat., The Menil Collection, Houston, 2002, pp. 14-15)

    The optical, linear fields of delicate watercolor melt into an ethereal composition. Thoughts and memories seem to come in and out of focus, touching upon the viewers’ exposed sensory perception. As the artist relays, “The value of art is in the observer…People who look at my painting say that it makes them happy…And happiness is the goal, isn’t it?” (Agnes Martin in Holland Cotter, “Agnes Martin, Abstract Painter, Dies at 92,” The New York Times, December 17, 2004)

  • 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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Important Works on Paper from the Schulhof Collection



watercolor and graphite on paper
image 9 x 9 in. (22.9 x 22.9 cm)
sheet 12 x 12 in. (30.5 x 30.5 cm)

Signed and dated "A. Martin '77" lower right.
This work will be included in an upcoming catalogue raisonné to be published digitally by Artifex Press.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $106,250

Contact Specialist
John McCord
Head of Day Sale
New York
+1 212 940 1261

20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale

New York Auction 10 May 2016