Jason Martin - 20th Century to Now London Friday, June 30, 2023 | Phillips
  • “I’d like to be thought of as developing a new territory in painting, pushing the margins or the understanding of what painting can be, developing the language and the story of abstract painting or the story so far.”
    —Jason Martin

    Raw, magnetic, and pulsating with electric colour, Jason Martin’s Django (Alizarin violet) is a signature example of the artist’s celebrated practice. As an artist preoccupied with the legacy and history of painting, Martin’s work is defined by its constant state of invention and exploration. Executed with pure pigment on aluminium, the present work is evidence of his career-spanning investigation of colour, material, and form. Martin has moulded, scraped, and gouged his chosen material to create a densely worked and turbulent surface. Next applying layers of pure pigment to the still wet medium, Martin arrives at a highly saturated, almost glowing surface. The present work, with its deep violet palette, is an especially powerful example of this unique process.


    Stepping in close, one encounters an extremely textured surface that recalls crashing waves or mountain peaks. As light bounces and shimmers across its impasto surface, the image changes - constantly evolving with the shifting of light and perspective. Moreover, Martin’s highly physical, three-dimensional surface blurs the lines between painting and sculpture. Critic Matthew Rudman suggests Martin is ‘transmuting the core gestures of painting into three-dimensional, unmistakably sculptural objects.’i In this way, Martin is not only pushing the boundaries of painting, but dissolving them entirely - upending the centuries-old binary between sculpture and painting.

    ‘‘When I started out I had an interest in bringing a cool approach to a rudimentary idea or “Minimalism” together with the live emotive and more heated posture of Expressionism.’’
    —Jason Martin

    In his quest to chart new territory in painting, Martin has looked to the past for inspiration. And while his work is in dialogue with a wide range of art historical figures, a handful of key influences stand out, including Robert Ryman, Willem de Kooning, and Yves Klein. Like Ryman, Martin uses heavy impasto to explore and expose the material qualities of paint. Also echoing Ryman is how Martin often restricts himself to a monochromatic minimalist style - limiting his aesthetic choices and instead leaving the artist to focus on fundamental elements such as colour, surface, texture, and process. Like Willem de Kooning, Martin’s laborious and physical painting process imbues his work with traces of his own personal expression. Lastly, his use of raw, heavily saturated pigments echoes the work of Yves Klein, who similarly explored the alchemical potential of colour. Across all these sources of inspiration, the common thread is one of experimentation and exploration; each of these artists has helped to propel painting forward. Expanding on this lineage, Martin represents the vanguard of his own generation of artists.


    The present work exemplifies these important themes which have made Martin the subject of critical and institutional acclaim. A recent mid-career retrospective, ‘Jason Martin: Works 1997-2017’ at the Schauwerk Sindelfingen in Germany secured Martin’s enduring presence in the canon. His work is held in such prestigious institutional collections as the Albright Knox Gallery, Buffalo, NY, USA; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, USA; Government Art Collection, UK; Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Austria.



    i Matthew Rudman, ‘Jason Martin’, Studio International, 2015, online.

    • Provenance

      Acquired directly from the artist by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Madrid, Galeria Javier Lopez-Mário Sequeira, Jason Martin: Oils and Pigments, 14 June - 4 October 2011


Django (Alizarin violet)

signed, titled and dated 'Jason Martin 2011 (alzarin violet) 'Django'' on the reverse
mixed media on aluminium
180 x 161.3 x 23 cm (70 7/8 x 63 1/2 x 9 in.)
Executed in 2011.

Full Cataloguing

£30,000 - 50,000 ‡♠

Sold for £69,850

Contact Specialist

Leonor de Osma
Head of Sale, 20th Century to Now
T +44 20 7901 7912
M +44 7584 086 052

20th Century to Now

London Auction 30 June 2023