Watercolor and pencil on vellum, 1977. 305x305 mm; 12x12 inches. Signed and dated in ink, lower right recto.
Exhibited Agnes Martin: Watercolors, Pace Gallery, New York, March-April 1978, with the gallery label, verso; Agnes Martin: Recent Drawings, Harcus-Krakow Gallery, November 1978; Agnes Martin: Recent Watercolors, Margo Leavin Gallery, April 1979, with the gallery label verso.
Published Tiffany Bell, Agnes Martin: Works on Paper, number 1977.016 WP.
Ex-collection Pace Galleries, New York; Irving Luntz, Palm Beach, Florida; private collection, Florida
Martin (1912-2004) was born in Canada and moved to the United States in 1932. She studied arts education at Columbia University, New York, but while there decided to become an artist. She worked for a several years as a teacher then moved to New Mexico in 1947 fully dedicating herself to her artwork.
She returned to New York in 1957 on the advice of the gallerist Betty Parson, and became acquainted with Robert Indiana (1928-2018, see lots 220-224 and 272-274), Ellsworth Kelly (1923-2015, see lots 159-162 and lot 207) and Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967). This time period coincided with her shift from focusing on biomorphic shapes towards the geometric grid-like compositions for which she is known. She had her first solo exhibition at the Betty Parson Gallery, New York in 1958 and over the next decade gained acclaim in the New York art world.
However, in 1967 she abruptly left New York and ceased creating art for 7 years. She eventually began painting again after settling in near seclusion in New Mexico. She is celebrated for her serene geometric paintings that are rooted in Zen Buddhist and American Transcendentalist ideas, pairing the metaphysical with structure and space. She viewed herself as an Abstract Expressionist, though not in the gestural-forward manner of much of the New York school, and her works were restrained, yet based in emotions, spiritual inspiration and the beauty of nature.