Ripley Auctions

Description: Knox Martin
American, (b.1923)
Woman, Still-Life With Grapes and Bananas, 1986
oil on canvas
signed lower right. Inscribed verso.

Provenance: From a private collector, Indianapolis.

From the archives of AskArt: New York School artist Knox Martin was born in Barranquilla, Colombia to an American aviator father - the first man to ever pilot an aircraft over the Andes - and a Colombian mother.

His family moved to Salem, Virginia and later to New York City when he was 5 years old.

Knox Martin served in the Coast Guard in WWII on a sub-chaser, part of a rescue flotilla at Omaha Beach in Normandy. He attended The Art Students League of New York from 1946 to 1950 under the GI Bill. At the League he studied with Harry Sternberg, Vaclav Vytlacil, Will Barnet and Morris Kantor. There he met fellow students Susan Weil, Cy Twombly, and Al Held and was a mentor to Robert Rauschenberg.

In 1954, at Franz Kline's recommendation, Knox Martin's work was included in the Stable Gallery annual exhibition. Charles Egan saw the work and invited him to have his first solo exhibition at the Charles Egan Gallery.

His prevalent theme is woman. Vivien Raynor wrote in the New York Times: "The artist is best known for his repertory of signs and symbols that allude to nature and, in particular, to the female form. Flatly and freely painted in Pop colors, they have often been executed on a grand scale..." (1)

A renowned muralist, one of his best-known works in New York City is a 12-story wall painting, Venus, on the wall of Bayview Women's Correctional Facility on West 19th Street. Venus was commissioned in 1970 by Doris Freedman of CityWalls and restored in 1998 with the support of the Public Art Fund.
Knox Martin has received numerous grants and awards, including an NEA Grant, two Pollock-Krasner Grants, Gottlieb Grant, CAPS Grant, Longview Fellowship (3 purchase awards) and the Benjamin West Clinedinst Memorial Medal.

He taught at Yale Graduate School of the Arts, first as visiting critic in art, and then as Professor of Art. He also taught at New York University, the University of Minnesota, Fort Rajgat, India, and the International School of Art in Umbria, Italy. For over 45 years he taught a legendary Master Class at the Art Students League of New York.

Sources include:
Don Ray
the artist's website

(1) Vivien Raynor, Knox Martin: Angry But More Human, New York Times (November 9, 1980).

  • Dimensions: 48 1/4"H x 42"W (sight), 49 3/4"H x 43 1/2"W (frame)
  • Artist Name: Knox Martin
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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