Agnes Martin - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Day Sale New York Tuesday, May 10, 2016 | Phillips
  • 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

    As an artist defined by minimalism and abstract expressionism, Agnes Martin found serenity in her work. Commonly believed to have schizophrenia, Martin may have exercised her orderly grids and pastel colors as a way to find peace. After moving from Canada to New York City and earning her M.A. at Columbia University, she was supported by other talented artists such as Ellsworth Kelly and Robert Indiana. Martin began her career with exhibitions at Betty Parson's Gallery, and her work quickly traveled internationally from there. Eventually moving to New Mexico, the artist ended her career and cut off all social ties. Martin was represented by Pace Gallery from 1975 and was recently given a retrospective at Tate Modern in 2015.

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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