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Agnes Martin
Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin

Pioneer, Painter, Icon


352 Pages, 6 x 8

Trade Paper, $18.95 (US $18.95) (CA $24.95)

Publication Date: March 2018

ISBN 9781943156306

Rights: WOR

Schaffner Press (Mar 2018)
Schaffner Press, Inc.

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This is an intimate and revealing biography of Agnes Martin, renowned American painter, considered one of the great women artists of the 20th and 21st Century. A resident of both New Mexico and New York City, Martin has always remained an enigma due to her fiercely guarded private life. Henry Martin, award-winning writer, and art scholar, having access to those who were close to Agnes Martin—friends, family, former lovers—gives us a full portrait of this universally revered artist. Readers will learn of her bouts with mental illness, her several significant lesbian relationships, and her lifelong yearning for recognition despite her reclusive lifestyle and need for privacy. Arriving in the wake of major international retrospective exhibitions of her work from London's Tate Modern, LACMA in Los Angeles, and the Guggenheim in New York City, this book provides a perspective of Agnes Martin that has not been seen in earlier, more academic works or fine-art monographs. Certain to be a mainstay for readers of the arts, and admirers of the creative spirit, this book also includes rare photographs from Martin’s family and friends, many of which have never appeared in a book before.


“No other book on Agnes Martin has been researched as thoroughly and honestly as Agnes Martin: Painter, Poet, Icon. Its sensitive and poetic nature makes it a must read for those truly interested in understanding the artist.” —Jina Brenneman, Curator, "Agnes Martin: Before The Grid", Harwood Museum, 2012

"Rich, clear, detailed, and wide-ranging, I enjoyed Agnes Martin: Painter, Pioneer, Icon greatly." —Lee Hall, author, Betty Parsons: Artist, Dealer, Collector

"In this satisfactory biography, poet Martin traces the life of pioneering painter Agnes Martin from a tomboyish introvert growing up in rural Saskatchewan Canada in the 1920s to a world-renowned abstract expressionist." —Publishers Weekly

"A heartfelt examination of the enigmatic artist, thoughtfully tying together the complex person and her abstract, singular art. The book admirably places Agnes’ powerful personality, complex sexuality, towering ambition, and difficult relationships in a shifting context of environment and time." —Torin Jensen, 

"The book devotes considerable ink to Martin’s many love affairs with women... helps readers understand her better, particularly in terms of her background." —Paul Gessell, Galleries West Magazine

Article/photo essay on Agnes Martin by Henry Martin. —Hyper Allergic

"The most valuable parts of Henry Martin’s volume are the comments from Agnes Martin’s longtime friends, who provide intriguing and illuminating perspectives on many aspects of the artist’s life. As a poet, Henry Martin is able to provide unexpected, sometimes charming, turns of phrase." —Nancy G. Heller, Woman's Art Journal

Author Biography

Henry Martin is an award-winning Irish writer. His plays have featured at Project Arts Centre, Roundhouse, Underbelly, Arcola, Theatre503, and Belltable; his fiction and poetry is published in Ireland, Mexico, USA and UK; and he has written on art and books for Soho House and Phaidon Press, where he worked in editorial and rights. He has a BA in English and Philosophy from the National University of Ireland, Galway, an MA in Playwriting from Royal Holloway, University of London, and he is pursuing an MA(Res) in art history at the University of Buckingham and the National Gallery, London, with a Tavolozza Foundation Scholarship. His limited edition book Yappo (2017) received a Tipperary Artists Award, and funding from the University for the Creative Arts, London. Henry is an Emily Harvey Foundation resident, and was researcher on, and narrator of, the award-winning documentary Agnes Martin Before The Grid (2016).