Eddie Martinez - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale Hong Kong Tuesday, June 21, 2022 | Phillips

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  • “I’m most interested in not pigeonholing anything. I don’t want to make any rules. I’m the kind of painter I am, and I’m influenced by what I’m influenced by, so I’m never going to make a solid black square and call it abstraction. It’s what I think is abstraction.”
    — Eddie Martinez

    Described by The New York Times as possessing ‘exceptional gifts as a painter and draftsman, which he exuberantly combines’ i, Eddie Martinez is a gifted visual artist who operates at the confluence of Abstract Expressionism and American graffiti. Gleaning inspiration from both contemporary street art and the art historical canon, he filters them through personal experience and popular culture, creating exceptionally energetic and endlessly intriguing works that have enraptured a diverse range of audiences.


    Martinez’s signature style comprises coarse brushwork, bold impasto, and heavy contours, often rendered in vibrant, aggressively applied hues. The raw, frenetic energy of his lines immediately brings to mind the works of Willem de Kooning, whose work is characterised by fervent and uninhibited brushstrokes. Much like de Kooning, Martinez’s application of paint and line is intuitive and effortless, imbued with a sense of both chaos and wonder. Describing his painting process, the artist muses: ‘I’m kind of dancing around this thing, doing it as quick as possible, and just letting the marks fall where they fall.’ ii



    In his abstract subjects and often incomprehensible contexts, Martinez’s paintings are also evocative of Joan Miró’s Surrealist fantasies. Populated by otherworldly creatures, their origins occasionally indicated by human or animal-like features, Martinez’s oeuvre is colourfully confusing and curiously endearing. His energetic, frantic works are also frequently compared to those of Jean-Michel Basquiat, who also fused painting and drawing, in an electrifying fashion, oscillating between the realms of abstraction and figuration.


    Despite a myriad of influences, Martinez manages to develop a visual language that is uniquely his own— a universally appealing aesthetic that rejects conformity and confinement, turning away from specified contexts to allow viewers to contemplate his works at our own volition. The artist explains this, saying: ‘The thing with viewers, I never have a thing I’m trying to put upon anyone. I think that’s the job of the viewer, to figure out what they want to get out of it. Once it leaves, once I’ve made the thing, it’s not really mine anymore...I made it, it’s done, now it’s for people to look at and see what they want to see. Whenever anyone asks me if it’s this or that, I just don’t say anything, because I don’t want to inform it any more than I already did in the studio.’ iii


     “I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to think anything. I don’t have anything in particular in the work I want people to see, I want it all to be interpreted.”
    — Eddie Martinez

    Celebrated by critics and collectors alike, Martinez has established himself as one of the contemporary art world’s leading artists. His impressive oeuvre has also been the subject of numerous group and solo exhibitions worldwide and has been presented by exclusive galleries, including but not limited to Galerie Perrotin, Timothy Taylor, and Kohn Gallery. 


    Most recently, the artist held the solo show Pigeon Sweat (2022) with Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, and Fingers Pointing at the Moon (2021) with Galerie Perrotin, Shanghai. Martinez’s unique visual language and distinctive style have earned him international acclaim, and his works continue to grow in demand with both young and established collectors, obtaining astronomical results at auction in recent years.



    Eddie Martinez Whistles While He Works, 2012

    Courtesy Art21


    i Roberta Smith, ‘Art in Review’, The New York Times, 11 February 2010, online.

    ii Eddie Martinez, quoted in Rachel Small and Barry McGee, ‘Barry McGee x Eddie Martinez’, Interview Magazine, 12 September 2014, online.

    iii ibid.

    • Provenance

      Kohn Gallery, Los Angeles
      Private Collection
      Private Collection, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Glenn O'Brien, Eddie Martinez: Paintings, New York, 2013, p. 80 (illustrated)
      Timothy Taylor, eds., Eddie Martinez: Sculptures, London, 2016, p. 9 (illustrated)

Property of an Important Asian Collector


Escuchar (To Listen)

signed and dated 'MARTINEZ 11' lower right; further signed, inscribed and dated 'MARTINEZ 2011 NYC.' on the reverse
oil and spray paint on canvas
152.4 x 213.3 cm. (60 x 83 7/8 in.)
Executed in 2011.

Full Cataloguing

HK$1,500,000 - 2,500,000 

Sold for HK$1,500,000

Contact Specialist

Danielle So
Specialist, Head of Day Sale
+852 2318 2027

20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Day Sale

Hong Kong Auction 21 June 2022