Artist biography

Agnes Martin born 1912

American abstract painter born in Maklin, Saskatchewan, Canada. Moved to the USA in 1932. Studied at universities in Oregon, California and New Mexico. Became a US citizen 1940. Attended Teachers College at Columbia University, New York, from 1941-2 and 1951-2, studying first history and social studies, then changing to fine arts. Painted still lifes and portraits until c.1952-4 when she developed an abstract biomorphic style influenced by Abstract Expressionism, with pale washes of colour. Taught at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 1954-6, then lived in Taos 1956-7; returned to New York 1957. First one-woman exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, 1958. Through contacts with artists such as Kelly and Reinhardt, began to experiment with symmetrical compositions of rectangles or circles within a square, then from c.1960-1 to work with grids of delicate horizontal and vertical lines. Left New York in 1967 shortly after the death of Reinhardt and moved to Cuba, New Mexico, where she lives now.

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.488