Artist biography

Agnes Martin 1912–2004

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.

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