Knox Martin

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Knox Martin
Born(1923-02-12)February 12, 1923
Barranquilla, Colombia
DiedMay 15, 2022(2022-05-15) (aged 99)
EducationArt Students League of New York
Known forPainter, muralist, sculptor
Notable workVenus (1970), Woman with bicycle (1979)
MovementAbstract expressionism, New York School
AwardsChevalier of the Legion of Honour

Knox Martin (February 12, 1923 – May 15, 2022) was an American painter, sculptor, and muralist.

Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, he studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1946 until 1950. He was one of the leading members of the New York School of artists and writers. He lived and worked in New York City.

Early life[edit]

Knox Martin was the oldest son of Lieutenant William Knox Martin, a Virginia-born early aviation pioneer and flyer, and his wife Isabel Vieco, who were married in the Canal Zone in Panama in 1921. Knox Martin Sr., a painter, poet, and early test pilot, was the first man to fly over the Andes mountains.[1] Six years after his marriage, Martin Sr. was fatally injured in an automobile accident in Watertown, New York.[2] His widow Isabel relocated with her three young sons from Salem, Virginia, to New York City.[3]

Early career[edit]

After serving in the United States Coast Guard[4] during World War II, Martin attended the Art Students League of New York on the G.I. Bill from 1946 to 1950, where he studied with Harry Sternberg,[5] Vaclav Vytlacil,[6] Will Barnet,[7] and Morris Kantor.

In 1954, Martin's friend Franz Kline placed a painting of his in the Stable Gallery Annual.[8] Charles Egan of the Charles Egan Gallery saw Martin's painting at the Stable Gallery and asked him to show his work in a one-man show for the tenth anniversary of the Egan Gallery.[9]


Martin 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 brilliant colors, his works were often executed on a grand scale, as in |the outdoor wall painting, Woman with Bicycle, at West Houston and MacDougal Streets in Manhattan.[10] He mostly created painting, sculpture and wall paintings using media such as acrylic, collage, fresco, ink drawing (pen and ink), mixed media/multimedia, and oil.[11]

One of his wall paintings in New York City is the twelve-story mural Venus.[12]

Venus mural

Commissioned in 1970 by Doris Freedman of CityWalls (later the Public Art Fund),[13] Venus is located on the south side of Bayview Correctional Facility at 19th Street and the West Side Highway.[14]

"Traditionally the goddess of love and fertility, Venus represents woman, erotic and supple, but it also conveys Martin's love affair with New York. Venus is his love poem to the city where he has always lived, a place that is part of his being. The feminine, curvilinear shapes of the image are in direct contrast with the straight forms that intersect the composition. The overwhelming size of this enormous mural only intensifies the experience of female shapes, the linear aspects of the painted composition, and of the surrounding architecture. In an era when art was reaching out to the masses with pop culture, this huge mural was Martin's way of touching a public that would never venture into an art gallery."[15]


Martin's work is included in the collections of Whitney Museum of American Art,[16] Museum of Modern Art,[17] Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden,[18] Art Students League of New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, National Academy of Design,[19] National Arts Club, New York University, Addison Gallery of American Art, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Art Institute of Chicago, Art Museum of Southeast Texas, Baltimore Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Davis Museum at Wellesley College, Denver Art Museum, Hand Art Center, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Heckscher Museum of Art, Hofstra University Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art,[20] Ithaca Museum, Lowe Art Museum, George Washington University, Montclair Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts,[21] Newark Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Provincetown Art Association and Museum,[22] Reading Public Museum, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Springfield Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston,[23] Toledo Museum of Art, University of Kentucky Art Museum,[24] University of Maine Museum of Art,[25] Weatherspoon Art Museum,[26] William Benton Museum of Art, Israel Museum, Ludwig Museum in Budapest,[27] and the Bibliothèque Nationale.

Grants, Awards and Honors[edit]

Martin was the recipient of numerous grants, including two Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants (2008 and 1988),[28] Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation Grant (1991), C.A.P.S. Grant (1978), an NEA Artist Fellowship (1973), and three Longview Fellowship purchase awards (1958 and 1957).[29]

In 2002, Martin was named to the National Academy of Design.[30] Subsequently, Martin received painting awards from the National Academy of Design including the Desser Award for Painting (2005), the Kept Memorial Prize (2007), the Mary & Maxwell Desser Memorial Award (2009), and the J. Sanford Saltus Medal for Painting (2009).[31]

In 2012, Martin was awarded the Benjamin West Clinedinst Memorial Medal by the Artists' Fellowship, Inc. "for the achievement of exceptional artistic merit".[32]

In 2016, France conferred the insignia of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor on Martin for his contribution in World War II to the liberation of France.[33]


Martin gave a master class at the Art Students League of New York for over 45 years.[1][34] Earlier he taught at Yale Graduate School of Art, first as visiting critic in art, invited by Jack Tworkov, and then as Professor of Art. He also taught at New York University, the University of Minnesota, and the International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy.[35]

Later work[edit]

September 15 to November 13, 2010, Martin had a one-man show of his Black and White Paintings at Woodward Gallery in New York City.[36][37][38]

October 6, 2012 to April 6, 2013, Martin had a solo exhibition of recent paintings, SHE,[39] at the Sam & Adele Golden Gallery at Golden Artist Colors in New Berlin, New York.[40]

September 13 to October 26, 2013 saw the Knox Martin Exhibition SHE at the LGTripp Gallery in Philadelphia.[41]

On November 14, 2016, France conferred the insignia of the Legion of Honour on Martin for his contribution to the liberation of France during World War II.[42]

From May 2 to June 1, 2019, Martin had a solo show, Knox Martin: Radical Structures, at Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City.[43][44][45]

October 18 to December 7, 2019, Martin had a solo show, Knox Martin: New York 1962-2019, at Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art in Houston, Texas.[46][47]

July 18 to October 11, 2020, Martin had a solo museum exhibition, "Knox Martin: Living Legend",[48] at the Arlington Museum of Art in Arlington, Texas.[49][50]

April 3 to May 1, 2021, Martin had a solo show, Knox Martin: Red and Black, at Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art in Houston, Texas.[51][52][53]

July 8 to August 6, 2021, Martin had a solo show, Knox Martin: Homage to Goya, at Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City.[54]

January 6 to February 5, 2022, Martin had a solo show, Knox Martin: Garden of Time, at Hollis Taggart Galleries in New York City.[55]

Knox Martin was represented by Hollis Taggart Galleries.[56]

Personal life and death[edit]

Martin died on May 15, 2022, at the age of 99.[57][58][59][60][61]


  1. ^ a b "About Knox Martin".
  2. ^ William Knox Martin-
  3. ^ "Knox Martin". 2003-09-12. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  4. ^ For D-Day anniversary: the voice of one who knows
  5. ^ Harry Sternberg-IFPDA Archived 2013-04-24 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ The Art Students League: About Vaclav Vytlacil
  7. ^ France Honors Will Barnet with the Order of Arts and Letters
  8. ^ New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists,. 2000. ISBN 9780967799407. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  9. ^ "About Art and Artists; Knox Martin Impresses in First One-Man Show". The New York Times. September 16, 1954. Retrieved April 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Raynor, Vivien (June 30, 1981). "Art; Knox Martin: Angry But More Human". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Knox Martin - Artist, Art - Knox Martin". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  12. ^ Mindlin, Alex (February 11, 2007). "After a 37-Year Run, a Roadside Venus to Be Veiled". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Knox Martin 1971 WNYC Radio interview about Venus with Doris Freedman of City Walls". Retrieved 2022-12-04.
  14. ^ "Knox Martin and his Roadside Venus". 2007-02-11. Archived from the original on August 22, 2007. Retrieved 2012-04-18.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  15. ^ Marilyn Kushner, Knox Martin: Early Work, exh. cat. (New York: Janos Gat Gallery, 1997)
  16. ^ Whitney Museum of American Art Collection
  17. ^ "Museum of Modern Art Collection". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  18. ^ Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
  19. ^ National Academy of Design
  20. ^ "Indianapolis Museum of Art Collection". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  21. ^ "Minneapolis Institute of Arts". Retrieved 2014-04-24.
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2016-12-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  23. ^ "The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Collection".
  24. ^ "ONE + ONE | College of Fine Arts". Archived from the original on 2016-03-09. Retrieved 2016-02-22.
  25. ^ "Fresh Paint: New Acquisitions to the Museum Collection - Zillman Art Museum - University of Maine".
  26. ^ "Weatherspoon Art Museum Collection". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  27. ^ "Martin, Knox". November 2017.
  28. ^ "The Pollock Krasner Foundation - Knox Martin". Retrieved 2022-11-18.
  29. ^ About Knox Martin
  30. ^ "National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts".
  31. ^ About Knox Martin
  32. ^ Gala Honoring Knox Martin and Storm King Art Center
  33. ^ 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony/French Legion of Honor
  34. ^ The Art Students League of New York, Instructor, Knox Martin
  35. ^ "Knox Martin - Artist, Art - Knox Martin". 1993-02-26. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  36. ^ "Knox Martin- Woman: Black and White Paintings". 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  37. ^ Robert Shuster (2010-10-20). "Knox Martin at Woodward Gallery, Best in Show by Robert Shuster, Village Voice, October 20, 2010". Retrieved 2012-04-18.
  38. ^ "YouTube Video: Knox Martin Women Black and White at WOODWARD GALLERY by James Kalm". YouTube.
  39. ^ Just Paint article: Knox Martin at the Sam & Adele Golden Gallery
  40. ^ SAGG Press Release-Knox Martin
  41. ^ Knox Martin Exhibition SHE at LGTripp Gallery
  42. ^ 2016 Veterans Day Ceremony
  43. ^ Knox Martin: Radical Structures
  44. ^ Knox Martin, Wall Street Journal International Magazine, May 2, 2019
  45. ^ YouTube Video: Knox Martin Radical Structures at Hollis Taggart by James Kalm
  46. ^ Knox Martin: New York 1962-2019
  47. ^ Knox Martin: New York 1962-2019, Glasstire, October 4, 2019
  48. ^ Knox Martin: Living Legend at the Arlington Museum of Art
  49. ^ Arlington Museum of Art Reopens with Show by Knox Martin
  50. ^ YouTube Video: KNOX MARTIN: LIVING LEGEND at the Arlington Museum of Art
  51. ^ Knox Martin: Red and Black
  52. ^ Knox Martin: Red and Black, Glasstire, April 6, 2021
  53. ^ YouTube Video: Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art Presents | Knox Martin's "Red and Black"
  54. ^ Knox Martin: Homage to Goya
  55. ^ Knox Martin: Garden of Time
  56. ^ Hollis Taggart Now Represents Knox Martin, ArtNews, May 23, 2019
  57. ^ "Knox Martin 2/12/1923 – 5/15/2022". Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art on Facebook. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  58. ^ "Knox Martin". Artsy. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  59. ^ "Knox Martin". Artnet. Retrieved 18 May 2022.
  60. ^ "American painter Knox Martin has died aged 99". The Art Newspaper. 23 May 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.
  61. ^ "Artist Knox Martin Dies at 99". ArtNews. 24 May 2022. Retrieved 29 November 2022.


External links[edit]