Book Review – Agnes Martin Her Life and Art

Agnes Martin an artist ahead of her time and tormented with struggle, she was dedicated to fulfilling her artistic vision and also had to contend with mental illness. She destroyed her early work and her mature works remain. Composed of simple elements and painted in a limited palette on canvases that are always square they reveal an esthetic sense.

Agnes Martin in her studio on Ledoux Street, Taos, New Mexico, (1953). Photo by Mildred Tolbert


Agnes Martin from the Vanity Fair Assignment, 1988
Agnes Martin from the Vanity Fair Assignment, 1988


She avoided the spotlight and advocated humility and egolessness and suffered poverty for years. Even when she became wealthy, she lived simply.

In the book Agnes Martin: Her Life and Art by Nancy Princenthal, the reader gets a glimpse into her work and life while maintaining the integrity of Martins principals.

Over the course of a career that spanned fifty years, Agnes Martin’s austere, serene work anticipated and helped to define Minimalism, even as she battled psychological crises and carved out a solitary existence in the American Southwest. Martin identified with the Abstract Expressionists but her commitment to linear geometry caused her to be associated in turn with Minimalist, feminist, and even outsider artists.

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