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The Tree

01/01/1964

The Tree
1964
oil and pencil on canvas
6 x 6' (182.8 x 182.8 cm)
Larry Aldrich Foundation Fund
© 2019 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The Tree, 1964 at the MoMA

Martin often described a painting from 1964, The Tree, as her first grid. In fact, she had been making them since at least the beginning of the decade, first by scratching lattices into paint and then by pencilling ruled vertical and horizontal lines on to canvases, sometimes embellishing the hatchings with dabs or lines of colour, even sheets of gold leaf. “Well,” she told an interviewer, “when I first made a grid I happened to be thinking of the innocence of trees and then this grid came into my mind and I thought it represented innocence, and I still do, and so I painted it and then I was satisfied.”

- Olivia Laing, on The Guardian

Agnes Martin: the artistic mystic who disappeared into the desert, by Olivia Laing

Art I Can't Show You

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Published in 19/03/2019

Updated in 19/02/2021

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