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  • Provenance

    PaceWildenstein, New York; Private collection, New York; Anthony Meier, San Francisco; Hester van Roijen, London; Private collection, Massachusetts

  • Exhibited

    New York, PaceWildenstein, Agnes Martin New Drawings and Watercolors, March 28 - April 27, 1996

  • Catalogue Essay

    The work of Agnes Martin can be characterized by wonderfully subtle abstractions that, despite their mechanical nature, are intensely poetic. In her grid drawings, Martin directly confronts her Minimalist contemporaries through her trademark pattern by demanding long meditative contemplation from her viewers regardless of the pattern’s seemingly simple structure. This meditative experience is at odds with the major tenets of American Minimalism.
    The powerful tension the present lot exudes is due to the artist’s manipulation of an arrangement of lines, normally considered cold, intellectual and purely formal into a serene and delicate motif that transcends its own simplicity. Martin’s artistic triumph is her ability to elicit emotion from rational order; her gentle reduction of the visual image until it conveys the most basic archetypal form allows her to evoke the most fundamental emotional responses.

  • 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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Graphite, ink and watercolor on onion skin paper.
11 x 11 in. (27.9 x 27.9 cm).
Signed and dated "a.martin '95" lower right.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Contemporary Art Part II

13 Nov 2009
New York