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  • "I started with portraits and landscapes and still lifes… I never really understood the appeal of Pollock’s drip paintings. It’s his earlier work, when he was deep into Picasso—that’s the stuff that moves me." —Eddie Martinez

    A classically composed still life brimming with the energy of street art and skater culture, Yours for the Taking, 2007, characterizes Eddie Martinez’s playful yet rigorous painting practice. Drawing inspiration from an array of sources ranging from graffiti to Picasso, the present work defines Martinez’s ethos: that the accountments of both art history and contemporary culture are his for the taking.


    Clara Peters, A Bouquet of Flowers, circa 1612. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace, Howard S. and Nancy Marks, Friends of European Paintings, and Mr. and Mrs. J. Tomilson Hill Gifts, Gift of Humanities Fund Inc., by exchange, Henry and Lucy Moses Fund Inc. Gift, and funds from various donors, 2020

    Martinez began his career as an artist after spending his teenage years making graffiti. A trained draftsman, he turned to painting on his own terms. “I didn’t really know how to make oil paintings,” Martinez recalls, “I guess I just looked at history for it and tried to figure out how I was going to do it. But that’s kind of how everything has really been for me.” Martinez’s background in street art and his respect for art history have spawned his idiosyncratic mixture of styles, combining spray paint, oils, and the occasional textile or loose object in his canvasses to create compositions that teem with vivid intensity. His expressionistic renderings of flowers and large-eyed figures catapulted him to success in the late 2000s, and his work is now held in esteemed international collections such as the Morgan Library, New York and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

    "Martinez’s evolving style is a kind of updated, liberated Neo-Expressionism that looks all over the place for guidance: to Picasso, early Peter Saul, Arshile Gorky, Philip Guston, de Kooning, and David Hockney."—Roberta Smith

    Martinez cites modernists and skaters alike as influences on his work; indeed, the color palette of a Picasso still life can invoke the hues of a sun-drenched skate park filled with colorful skateboards and screeching rims, bright swirls of graffiti, and the frenetic motion of contemporary life. Martinez also references Cubist plays of perspective, as what looks to be a basket of flowers perched on a stool turns out to be a more diverse collection on closer inspection: through a fray of semi-abstract borders and brushstrokes, a pacifier and toys become visible; polka dots and a smiley face materialize from the haze. These tags of street art toy with depth and shadow while black and white spray paints blur the picture plane, invoking the frenetic verve and playful ambiguity of contemporary life.

    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      ZieherSmith, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2007

    • Literature

      Dan Nadel, ed., Eddie Martinez|Chuck Webster, New York, 2008, p. 63 (illustrated, p. 38)


Yours for the Taking

signed with the artist's initials and dated "EM 07" lower left; signed, titled and dated ""Yours for the Taking" Eddie Martinez 2007" on the reverse; further signed and dated "Eddie Martinez 2007" on the stretcher
acrylic and spray paint on canvas
60 x 48 1/4 in. (152.4 x 122.6 cm)
Executed in 2007.

Full Cataloguing

$150,000 - 200,000 

Place Advance Bid
Contact Specialist

Patrizia Koenig

Head of New Now Sale

212 940 1279

[email protected]

New Now

New York Auction 28 September 2021