Agnes Martin

Mar 22, 1912 -


Agnes Martin's Inspiration

About Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin was a Canadian-born American abstract painter. Born in Macklin, Canada in 1912, she moved to the United States in 1932 and became a U.S. Citizen in 1950. Martin had planned to work in art education, earning a BA from the teacher’s college at Columbia University in New York in 1942. During her course of study, she became interested in Asian philosophy after attending lectures by Zen Buddhist scholar D. T. Suzuki. She would apply those philosophies as a guide to her personal life and creative work. After spending 10 years establishing herself as an artist in New York City, and battling severe schizophrenia, Martin would disappear from the art world in 1967. After eighteen months on the road, Martin finally settled in Cuba, New Mexico. She lived there for 9 years before relocating to Galisteo, New Mexico, famously building adobe homes for herself in both locations. Martin finally began painting again in 1973. Though she kept herself out of the public eye and distanced from the social events of the art world, her work was regularly exhibited and revered for her mastery in minimalism and abstract expressionism. With a unique style defined by an emphasis on lines, grids, and fields of extremely subtle color, her work has been described as “an essay on inwardness and silence”. She was awarded a National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1998. She died in 2004 at the age of 92.