In the 1950s, Knox Martin, born of a Columbian mother and an American father, was one of the leading figures of the New York art scene. He was a close personal friend of Willem De Kooning and Franz Kline (to whom his early work was often compared). His father, William Knox Martin, was a renowned aviator, the first man to fly over the Andes. A pupil of the New York Art Students League, Knox Martin was professor at the Yale Graduate School of the Arts and New York University. The artist, ninetyfour years old at the time of this writing, still finds the time to share his knowledge with students in master classes at the Art Students League .
“From about 1957 to about 1964, the spirit of art in New York City was moving in directions for which Abstract Expressionism had prepared no one. By 1965, the strokes, swipes, drips and splatters of New York painting had given way to cool, laconic representations of the most ordinary of ordinary objects. It was a
transformation in artistic culture in which intellectual rewards replaced, or at least supplemented, visual ones, and the whole philosophical face of art began to disclose itself in particularly vivid ways.
Knox Martin’s paintings embody this transformative moment. In them, the tension between two rival philosophies of art can be felt. One might properly claim that Martin synthesizes an expressionist abstraction with a geometrical one”. (Arthur C. Canto, art historian)
Knox Martin’s works are conserved in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art , New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Baltimore Museum of Art , the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C., the Brooklyn Museum, the Corcoran Gallery of Art , Washington D.C. the Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, among many others.