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(1923 – 2022), United States

Knox Martin Biography

American artist Knox Martin was a significant figure in the New York arts scene of the 20th-century, working at the height of various post-war movements.

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Early Years

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, Martin moved to New York with his family in 1927 following the death of his father. He served in World War II, after which he studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1946 to 1950, alongside artists including Robert Rauschenberg and Cy Twombly. He was taught by acclaimed modernists such as Harry Sternberg, Vaclav Vytlacil, Morris Kantor, and Will Barnet.

Martin taught a masterclass at his alma mater, the Art Students League, for over four decades. He also held teaching positions at Yale University, New York University, the University of Minnesota, and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy.

Knox Martin Artworks

Martin engaged with the concerns of post-war art movements including Abstract Expressionism, Pop art, and Colour Field painting, yet his colourful abstract paintings resisted categorisation within a singular style. His works of the 1960s embodied a collage-like aesthetic, featuring geometric patterns and shapes, while his later practice explored minimalist, abstracted representations of the female nude.

New York School

Martin was an active member of the pioneering New York School in the 1950s, and he became friends with painters Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. In 1954, Kline recommended Martin's work for the Stable Gallery Annual, an important event for American Abstract Expressionists. Upon seeing Martin's work at the Stable Annual, Charles Egan invited the artist to present a solo exhibition at Charles Egan Gallery, which further propelled his career.

Public Commissions

Martin produced numerous public commissions and murals across the United States, including Venus (1970), the celebrated twelve-storey high mural in Manhattan's West Side, and the six-storey high mural Woman with Bicycle (1979) in Lower Manhattan. Martin's murals have also appeared in Florida, Kansas, and California. In 1993, he was commissioned to produce the sculpture Hums in India.

Awards and Accolades

Knox Martin received many awards in his lifetime, including the French Legion of Honour (2016); Benjamin West Clinedinst Memorial Medal (2012); Mary and Maxwell Desser Memorial Award (2009); and J. Sanford Saltus Medal Award (2009); Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant (2008); and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Artistic Excellence, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance (2008).

Exhibitions

Knox Martin has been the subject of both solo and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include Knox Martin: Living Legend, Arlington Museum of Art, Texas (2020); and Knox Martin: A Painting Exhibition Spanning a Number of Years, Lighthouse ArtCenter, Florida (1999).

Group exhibitions include Fresh Paint: New Acquisitions to the Museum Collection, University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor (2020); Synapses: Threads for Thought, The Heckscher Museum of Art, New York (2016); One + One, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Kentucky (2016); and Pan American Modernism: Avant-Garde Art in Latin America and the United States, Weatherspoon Art Museum, University of North Carolina, Greensboro (2016).

Collections

Knox Martin's works are featured in public and private collections globally, including in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Maryland; Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Dallas Museum of Art, Texas; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and Ludwig Museum, Budapest, among others.

Website and Instagram

Knox Martin's website can be found here, and his Instagram can be found here.

Rachel Kubrick | Ocula | 2022

Knox Martin
featured artworks

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Untitled by Knox Martin contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Knox Martin Untitled, 2017 Watercolour and graphite on paper
27.9 x 27.9 cm
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Elephant by Knox Martin contemporary artwork sculpture
Knox Martin Elephant Mixed media
53.3 x 40.6 x 71.1 cm
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Spider by Knox Martin contemporary artwork sculpture
Knox Martin Spider Mixed media
31.8 x 38.1 x 41.9 cm
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Ladybug by Knox Martin contemporary artwork sculpture
Knox Martin Ladybug Painted papier-mâché, wood, and wire
12.7 x 26.7 x 33 cm
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Untitled by Knox Martin contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Knox Martin Untitled Watercolour and graphite on paper
30.5 x 22.9 cm
Hollis Taggart Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Knox Martin contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Knox Martin Untitled Watercolour and graphite on paper
34.3 x 31.1 cm
Hollis Taggart Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Knox Martin contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Knox Martin Untitled Watercolour and graphite on paper
35.6 x 30.5 cm
Hollis Taggart Request Price & Availability
Untitled by Knox Martin contemporary artwork painting, works on paper, drawing
Knox Martin Untitled Watercolour and graphite on paper
36.8 x 30.5 cm
Hollis Taggart Request Price & Availability
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Knox Martin
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