Martín Ramírez - Latin America New York Tuesday, November 22, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Collection of Dr. Max Dunievitz, Auburn (acquired directly from the artist)
    Thence by descent to Collection of Phil Dunievitz, Auburn
    Ricco-Maresca Gallery, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Martín Ramírez: Reframing Confinement, March 30 - July 12, 2010

  • Literature

    Brooks Davis Anderson, Martín Ramírez, The Last Works, San Francisco, 2008, p. 75 (illustrated)
    L. Cooke, Martín Ramírez: Reframing Confinement, Madrid, 2010, p.133 (ilustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Martín Ramírez left his hometown of Jalisco to move to the United States in 1925 in search of work. Found later on the streets of a California city, homeless and unable to communicate, he was committed to a psychiatric hospital. Ramírez was diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic and spent the rest of his life in different psychiatric wards in California. During this difficult period, he produced an impressive body of drawings that allowed him to express himself and the world in which he found himself trapped. He began with pencils that were given to him by the hospital staff, and then slowly he started incorporating scraps of paper, which he glued together with a variety of substances such as mashed potatoes, bread, water and saliva. During the 1950s, a professor from Sacramento State College named Tarmo Pasto, who was at the time investigating mental illness and creativity, was impressed by Ramírez’s talent and began promoting his art. Although Ramírez is often categorized as an outsider artist, his work has influenced notable artists such as Wayne Thiebaud. Ramirez’s drawings introduce us to a series of noteworthy characters and scenes that document his life experiences. He depicted mounted caballeros, Mexican Madonnas, cowboys and a variety of astonishing animals, such as the fawn in the present lot. An indelible aspect of his work is the unique concept of pictorial space that Ramírez evokes through an arrangement of curved and parallel lines, giving viewers the illusion that space is expanding and contracting. Ramírez places his characters inside this original arrangement of lines that become prosceniums and stages, alluding to themes of distance, separation and isolation. Ultimately his forms and palette reveal an exigent and complex pictorial vocabulary, which attests to his genial draftsmanship and remind us that we are just beginning to comprehend and appreciate this remarkable artist’s work.

    There will be an exhibition of Martín Ramírez at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles in the Fall of 2017, as part of the Getty Foundation's Pacific Standard Time LA/LA.


Untitled (Brown Fawn)

mixed media on paper
22 1/2 x 20 in. (57.2 x 50.8 cm)
Executed circa 1960 - 1963.

$60,000 - 80,000 

Contact Specialist
Kaeli Deane
Head of Sale, Latin American Art
New York
+1 212 940 1352

Latin America

New York Auction 22 November 2016