Eddie Martinez - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale Hong Kong Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    ZieherSmith, New York
    Private Collection, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Catalogue Essay

    Eddie Martinez
    The Feast, 2010

    Installation view of Eddie Martinez’s exhibition “Open Feast” at the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, 7 November 2019 - 12 January 2020
    For almost two decades Eddie Martinez has created raw and energetic monumental canvases – a visual mash-up of street art, Abstract Expressionism and canonical art history. Representative of a new energy in contemporary American painting, Martinez’s work effortlessly fuses painting and drawing, abstraction and figuration, historical references and modern media in original and electrifying ways. Whilst Martinez has received critical recognition for his “exceptional gifts as a painter and draftsman, which he exuberantly combines” (Roberta Smith, The New York Times, 11 February 2010, online), he has also cemented a reputation for being “wholly committed to abandoning people’s expectations” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Nick Ravich, ‘New York Close Up’, Art21, 2012, online).

    Intergalactic Go Fish is an early work from Martinez’s acclaimed ‘table paintings’ series, completed a year after his first New York solo show at ZieherSmith Gallery in 2006. Table genre scenes featuring card players are a perennial motif throughout art history, providing an opportunity for artists to create group scenes showing off their mastery of psychological and emotional representation. For example, Caravaggio’s dramatic masterpiece The Cardsharps (c. 1594) offers up a slice of intense realism, whilst Paul Cézanne’s famous Post-Impressionist scenes of Provençal peasant card players treat each character as a human still life study (see for example The Card Players, 1890-92). In Nicole Eisenman’s contemporary interpretation of the genre a tightly packed ensemble of characters is gathered around a central table, but each is shown to be lost to his or her own world, including one person playing on his Gameboy (Another Green World, 2015). Blurring the traditional modes of figurative painting and abstraction throughout his practice, Martinez’s Intergalactic Go Fish provides a unique take on the genre. Martinez’s trademark tongue-in-cheek humour is evident in Intergalactic Go Fish: the seated figures in their 17th century Dutch garb (a nod to the genre’s popularity during the Dutch Golden Age – see for example Caspar Netscher’s The Card Party, ca. 1665) are flattened and abstracted until transformed into absurd citizens of the future – high-powered intergalactic players engrossed in the popular children’s card game ‘Go Fish’. In contrast to the stiff and formal compositions of traditional group portraiture, the immediacy of Martinez’s painting techniques and use of two-dimensional planes break open the boundaries of these tablescapes, pushing the viewer headlong into the surface of the painting:

    Caspar Netscher
    The Card Party, circa 1665
    Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    “What I also like about the table is that it lends itself to abstraction. And some of the tables have become completely abstract in the past. But now I feel like what I'm doing is removing the template of the table and just having what would be inside of that be the whole painting, but without even objects--just the marks loosely representing the object.” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Evan Garza, ‘Go Big Or Go Home: New American Paintings Spotlight, Eddie Martinez’, HuffPost, 6 December 2017, online)

    Continually reworking traditional genre structures with his distinctive self-generated imagery, Martinez continued his ‘table series’ over the next two decades, culminating in The Feast (2010) and one of his largest works ever, Open Feast, which was unveiled as a highlight of his first solo exhibition in China, at the Yuz Museum in 2020.

    Cornelis Bisschop
    A Young Woman and a Cavalier, early 1660s
    Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
    The vivid brushwork and bold, tactile contours at play in Intergalactic Go Fish are hallmarks of Martinez’s work. His practice blends media such as oil, acrylic, enamel and spray paints, applied with an aerosol can or with thick impasto brushstrokes and further manipulated in a variety of ways: wiped, scraped, scratched both dry and wet. Before working with paint, Martinez worked almost entirely in drawing and graffiti, spray-painting the tracks along Porter Square and the trestles of the Boston University Bridge in San Diego and Boston. After years of developing his own remarkable and distinct pictorial language with little formal education, he still paints with the instinctive scale and speed of a graffiti artist:

    “Spray paint is a tool that, immediately, you’re going to make large marks with. You’re not going to sit there and make a two-inch mark.” (Eddie Martinez, quoted in Evan Garza, ‘Go Big Or Go Home: New American Paintings Spotlight, Eddie Martinez’, HuffPost, 6 December 2017, online)

    Martinez has been honoured with solo exhibitions at respected museums and institutions, including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Detroit (2019), the Bronx Museum of Art, New York (2018), the Drawing Center, New York (2017) and the Davis Museum, Wellesley (2017). His work now forms part of eminent public collections such as the Saatchi Collection in London and the Morgan Library and the Bronx Museum of Art in New York.


Intergalactic Go Fish

signed and dated '.E. MARTINEZ. 07.' lower left
acrylic, oil and spray paint on canvas
152.4 x 182.9 cm. (60 x 72 in.)
Executed in 2007.

HK$1,800,000 - 2,800,000 

Sold for HK$3,750,000

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Raybaud
Head of Evening Sale, 20th Century & Contemporary Art

+852 2318 2026


20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 8 July 2020