Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin

Her Life and Art

  1. Nancy Princenthal
  • ISBN 9780500093900
  • 24.00 x 16.50 cm
  • Hardback
  • 320pp
  • 38 Illustrations, 33 in colour
  • First published 2015

The first biography of the visionary artist Agnes Martin, one of the most original and influential painters of the postwar period

‘This first – and much-needed – biography of American abstract painter Agnes Martin is as much a scholarly, thoroughly researched art history book as it is an accessible and fascinating story’– Aesthetica
‘Thorough and illuminating (Shortlisted for Apollo’s Book of the Year Award)’ – Apollo

Agnes Martin

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. ‘I paint with my back to the world’, she claimed; when she died at ninety-two, in Taos, New Mexico, it is said she had not read a newspaper in half a century.

Nancy Princenthal tells her whole story chronologically – from Martin’s birth in Saskatchewan and her early years as an artist, living in derelict Manhattan shipping lofts with Jasper Johns, Ellsworth Kelly and others of their ilk as neighbours; to the seven years she stopped painting, just as her career was taking off; the months she spent roaming the country in a pickup truck; and her last thirty years, in Taos some of that time, in an adobe house she built with her own hands.

Nancy Princenthal has written the essential Agnes Martin biography; a must-read for anyone interested in abstract painting or the history of women artists in America.

Nancy Princenthal has been writing about contemporary art for more than twenty-five years and was a senior editor at Art in America for five years. She has also written for the New York Times, the the Village Voice, Artforum and Bookforum.


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