Knox Martin

A colleague of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Knox Martin is an esteemed New York School painter. Embracing pattern, geometric structure, and organic and figurative references, his painting engages with major Post-war trends, including Abstract Expressionism, Color Field Painting, and Pop Art, without adhering to any singular artistic movement. His large-scale paintings of the 1960s employ a collage aesthetic, combining geometric forms with fields of stripes and polka dots in a bold palette of black and white, vibrant green, red, blue, and yellow. Beginning in the 1970s, the female nude, a favorite subject of de Kooning’s, became a key theme in Martin’s painting, where it is playfully fragmented and rearranged. The female form becomes a vehicle for abstraction and a reference to art historical lineages and the creative process of art making. Martin’s series of women paintings culminated in two major public commissions, Venus (1970), a twelve story mural at 19th Street and the West Side Highway, and Woman with Bicycle (1979) at West Houston and MacDougal Street (covered 2002).