The City

The City

1966

Agnes Martin

(American, 1912-2004)

Acrylic and graphite on canvas

Framed: 184.5 x 184.5 x 3 cm (72 5/8 x 72 5/8 x 1 3/16 in.); Unframed: 182.9 x 182.9 cm (72 x 72 in.)

Gift of Agnes Gund in memory of Wenda von Wiese 1991.30

Fun Fact

Drawing rectangular grids on a square canvas required extensive computation to precisely achieve; Martin spent hours calculating the lines of her grids before putting pencil to canvas.

Description

Agnes Martin developed her signature style in the late 1950s and early 1960s while living in New York City—six-foot-square canvases covered in thinly lined rectangular grids. Martin painstakingly drew her grids by hand, the faintly modulated background enriching the graphite lines with subtle variations of light and pattern. While her work is abstract, she often conjured subjects or themes with her titles. In this case, she may be referencing the urban plan of gridded city streets, or perhaps the rigidity of city life that Martin felt. The City was made a year before Martin abruptly left New York and settled in a remote town in New Mexico, where she would not resume her practice until 1973.

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