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Agnes Martin, On a Clear Day #18 , 1973

Agnes Martin
$8,500.00
Agnes Martin
On a Clear Day #18 , 1973
Silkscreen on grey and white rice paper. Pencil signed and annotated Artist's Proof. Framed.
15 1/2 × 15 1/2 × 1 1/4 in
39.4 × 39.4 × 3.2 cm
Edition AP
This is a rare, poignant early 1970s pencil signed and annotated limited edition Agnes Martin silkscreen from the portfolio "On a Clear Day". It's a desirable Artist's Proof, one of only 14.

About On a Clear Day:
"Agnes Martin's monumental thirty-print suite, On a Clear Day, was produced near the end of a seven-year period (1967-1974) in which the artist ceased painting entirely. Living in self-imposed isolation on a lonely mesa in New Mexico to which she had escaped after several years in New York, years in which she had achieved both fame and critical success, and fleeing what she saw as the burden of endless distractions, inescapable impediments to the necessary clearing of her mind to achieve her goal of an "egoless" art embodying beauty, freedom, and happiness, she sought refuge in near-total seclusion. This enforced period of artistic inactivity and contemplation, part of the artist's rigorous path toward finding truth in her art, was finally broken in 1971, when Martin was invited to make the prints that would become, two years later, On a Clear Day. Indeed, shortly after completing the prints, she returned to painting, producing a steady stream of celebrated work until her death in 2004. As with all of her mature work, the prints of On a Clear Day take as their subject matter the grid, rendered with an astonishing diversity of expression, focused with severe rigor yet compositionally and interpretatively open. About her grids, Martin famously said, "My formats are square, but the grids never are absolutely square; they are rectangles . . . . When I cover the square surface with rectangles, it lightens the weight of the square, destroys its power." Elsewhere, she explained that the grid came to her as an inspiration. "I was thinking about innocence, and then I saw it in my mind—that grid . . . . So I painted it, and sure enough, it was innocent." Martin's grid of rectangles, as one critic noted, "eradicated the hierarchical balancing of parts. The effect was not only a surface in perfect equilibrium, but one that epitomized unity and wholeness." While her grid was early on interpreted as a purified analog of nature, Martin vigorously rejected this reading. "My work is anti-nature," she declared. "[It] is about emotion—not personal emotion [but] abstract emotion. It's about those subtle moments of happiness we all experience." She succinctly defined art as "the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings." Grander in conception than any of Martin's paintings, On a Clear Day condenses through multiplication thirty ways of constructing a grid, of expressing happiness, beauty, freedom, and the impossibility of, though yearning for, perfection. Its individual parts, recalling the number of days in a month, imply the passage of time. Its title declares the long-sought-for clarity the artist had struggled to find in the barren New Mexican desert. One of the great works of graphic art of the late twentieth century, On a Clear Day announces with luminous clarity and conviction Martin's return to aesthetic wholeness. LACMA's collection includes the painting Untitled V (1981) and the drawing Not the One (1966) by Martin, who is one of the most important figures of postwar American art"

The present work is elegantly matted and framed with UV plexiglass in accordance with the highest archival museum conservation standards.
Measurements:
Framed:
15.5 square inches
Sheet: 12 square inches

About Agnes Martin:
"Born on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, Agnes Martin immigrated to the United States in 1932 in the hopes of becoming a teacher. After earning a degree in art education, she moved to the desert plains of Taos, New Mexico, where she made abstract paintings with organic forms, which attracted the attention of renowned New York gallerist Betty Parsons, who convinced the artist to join her roster and move to New York in 1957. There, Martin lived and worked on Coenties Slip, a street in Lower Manhattan, alongside a community of artists—including Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, and Jack Youngerman—who were all drawn to the area’s cheap rents, expansive loft spaces and proximity to the East River. Harbor Number 1 (1957), one of Martin’s earliest New York paintings, combines the geometric abstraction of her earlier Taos work with the newfound inspiration of the harbor landscape, evident in her choice of blue-gray palette.

Over the course of the next decade, Martin developed her signature format: six by six foot painted canvases, covered from edge to edge with meticulously penciled grids and finished with a thin layer of gesso. Though she often showed with other New York abstractionists, Martin’s focused pursuit charted new terrain that lay outside of both the broad gestural vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism and the systematic repetitions of Minimalism. Rather, her practice was tethered to spirituality and drew from a mix of Zen Buddhist and American Transcendentalist ideas. For Martin, painting was “a world without objects, without interruption… or obstacle. It is to accept the necessity of … going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.”1

In 1967, at the height of her career, Martin faced the loss of her home to new development, the sudden death of her friend Ad Reinhardt, and the growing strain of mental illness; she left New York, and returned to Taos, where she abandoned painting, instead pursuing writing and meditation in isolation. Her return to painting in 1974 was marked by a subtle shift in style: no longer defined by the delicate graphite grid, compositions such as Untitled Number 5 (1975) display bolder geometric schemes—like distant relatives of her earliest works. In these late paintings, Martin evoked the warm palette of the arid desert landscape where she remained for the rest of her life"

Introduction by Jennifer Harris, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, 2016

  1. Agnes Martin, quoted in Ann Wilson, “Linear Webs,” Art & Artists 1 (October 1966), 48.
    https://www.moma.org/artists/3787

Provenance: Acquired directly from the publisher. Authenticity guaranteed. 

 
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Description

Agnes Martin
On a Clear Day #18 , 1973
Silkscreen on grey and white rice paper. Pencil signed and annotated Artist's Proof. Framed.
15 1/2 × 15 1/2 × 1 1/4 in
39.4 × 39.4 × 3.2 cm
Edition AP
This is a rare, poignant early 1970s pencil signed and annotated limited edition Agnes Martin silkscreen from the portfolio "On a Clear Day". It's a desirable Artist's Proof, one of only 14.

About On a Clear Day:
"Agnes Martin's monumental thirty-print suite, On a Clear Day, was produced near the end of a seven-year period (1967-1974) in which the artist ceased painting entirely. Living in self-imposed isolation on a lonely mesa in New Mexico to which she had escaped after several years in New York, years in which she had achieved both fame and critical success, and fleeing what she saw as the burden of endless distractions, inescapable impediments to the necessary clearing of her mind to achieve her goal of an "egoless" art embodying beauty, freedom, and happiness, she sought refuge in near-total seclusion. This enforced period of artistic inactivity and contemplation, part of the artist's rigorous path toward finding truth in her art, was finally broken in 1971, when Martin was invited to make the prints that would become, two years later, On a Clear Day. Indeed, shortly after completing the prints, she returned to painting, producing a steady stream of celebrated work until her death in 2004. As with all of her mature work, the prints of On a Clear Day take as their subject matter the grid, rendered with an astonishing diversity of expression, focused with severe rigor yet compositionally and interpretatively open. About her grids, Martin famously said, "My formats are square, but the grids never are absolutely square; they are rectangles . . . . When I cover the square surface with rectangles, it lightens the weight of the square, destroys its power." Elsewhere, she explained that the grid came to her as an inspiration. "I was thinking about innocence, and then I saw it in my mind—that grid . . . . So I painted it, and sure enough, it was innocent." Martin's grid of rectangles, as one critic noted, "eradicated the hierarchical balancing of parts. The effect was not only a surface in perfect equilibrium, but one that epitomized unity and wholeness." While her grid was early on interpreted as a purified analog of nature, Martin vigorously rejected this reading. "My work is anti-nature," she declared. "[It] is about emotion—not personal emotion [but] abstract emotion. It's about those subtle moments of happiness we all experience." She succinctly defined art as "the concrete representation of our most subtle feelings." Grander in conception than any of Martin's paintings, On a Clear Day condenses through multiplication thirty ways of constructing a grid, of expressing happiness, beauty, freedom, and the impossibility of, though yearning for, perfection. Its individual parts, recalling the number of days in a month, imply the passage of time. Its title declares the long-sought-for clarity the artist had struggled to find in the barren New Mexican desert. One of the great works of graphic art of the late twentieth century, On a Clear Day announces with luminous clarity and conviction Martin's return to aesthetic wholeness. LACMA's collection includes the painting Untitled V (1981) and the drawing Not the One (1966) by Martin, who is one of the most important figures of postwar American art"

The present work is elegantly matted and framed with UV plexiglass in accordance with the highest archival museum conservation standards.
Measurements:
Framed:
15.5 square inches
Sheet: 12 square inches

About Agnes Martin:
"Born on a farm in rural Saskatchewan, Canada, Agnes Martin immigrated to the United States in 1932 in the hopes of becoming a teacher. After earning a degree in art education, she moved to the desert plains of Taos, New Mexico, where she made abstract paintings with organic forms, which attracted the attention of renowned New York gallerist Betty Parsons, who convinced the artist to join her roster and move to New York in 1957. There, Martin lived and worked on Coenties Slip, a street in Lower Manhattan, alongside a community of artists—including Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, and Jack Youngerman—who were all drawn to the area’s cheap rents, expansive loft spaces and proximity to the East River. Harbor Number 1 (1957), one of Martin’s earliest New York paintings, combines the geometric abstraction of her earlier Taos work with the newfound inspiration of the harbor landscape, evident in her choice of blue-gray palette.

Over the course of the next decade, Martin developed her signature format: six by six foot painted canvases, covered from edge to edge with meticulously penciled grids and finished with a thin layer of gesso. Though she often showed with other New York abstractionists, Martin’s focused pursuit charted new terrain that lay outside of both the broad gestural vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism and the systematic repetitions of Minimalism. Rather, her practice was tethered to spirituality and drew from a mix of Zen Buddhist and American Transcendentalist ideas. For Martin, painting was “a world without objects, without interruption… or obstacle. It is to accept the necessity of … going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.”1

In 1967, at the height of her career, Martin faced the loss of her home to new development, the sudden death of her friend Ad Reinhardt, and the growing strain of mental illness; she left New York, and returned to Taos, where she abandoned painting, instead pursuing writing and meditation in isolation. Her return to painting in 1974 was marked by a subtle shift in style: no longer defined by the delicate graphite grid, compositions such as Untitled Number 5 (1975) display bolder geometric schemes—like distant relatives of her earliest works. In these late paintings, Martin evoked the warm palette of the arid desert landscape where she remained for the rest of her life"

Introduction by Jennifer Harris, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Painting and Sculpture, 2016

  1. Agnes Martin, quoted in Ann Wilson, “Linear Webs,” Art & Artists 1 (October 1966), 48.
    https://www.moma.org/artists/3787

Provenance: Acquired directly from the publisher. Authenticity guaranteed. 

 

Additional info

Weight: 5.00 LBS
Width: 15.50
Height: 15.50
Depth: 1.50
Max Purchase Qty: 1 unit
Shipping: Calculated at Checkout