Spotlight

Knox Martin

Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York (S23)

Knox Martin, Untitled, 1975, Acrylic and graphite on paper, 22.5 × 21.5 cm. Courtesy: Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York

Knox Martin, Untitled, 1975, Acrylic and graphite on paper, 22.5 × 21.5 cm. Courtesy: Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York

Hollis Taggart presents vivid, multi-colored abstractions from the 1950s-1970s by influential New York painter, Knox Martin.

Knox’s work is in need of serious reassessment. The caliber and originality of the paintings, combined with the vibrancy of his palette create engaging compositions which should be brought to wider attention. With themes from Nature, symbolic imagery from myths and archetypes, and stylized representations of the female form, Martin’s works evoke historic references while remaining energetic, innovative and fresh, even to the eyes of the seasoned observer.

His astounding resume, longevity as a working painter, and impact on subsequent generations make him a figure of intense interest in the story of Abstract Expressionism. Now in his 96th year, it seems the perfect moment and Frieze the perfect venue to re-evaluate his place in the evolution of a style that defined American art for decades. Martin’s works are included in countless museums and private collections. 

Knox Martin (b. 1923, Colombia; lives and works in New York) was a student and then a notable teacher at the Arts Students League; he taught at Yale and showed at Stable Gallery and Charles Egan in the 1950s at the apex of artistic activity. He can truly be called a painters’ painter as he has received public accolades from Willem de Kooning, Alex Katz, Will Barnet, Ron Gorchov, Alfred Leslie and Cy Twombly, among others. Robert Rauschenberg is quoted as saying of Martin: “You are my mentor. For years, I always asked myself, what would Knox think of my painting.”