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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at
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