Agnes Martin. Friendship. 1963

Agnes Martin Friendship 1963

  • MoMA, Floor 4, 413 The David Geffen Wing

Spanning just over six feet on each side, Friendship is one of three paintings Martin made with gold leaf and gesso, materials rich with historical associations that stand out in an era defined by commercial images and industrial production. Though the painting’s lavish gold-leaf medium is unique within Martin’s body of work, its format—a square canvas, covered from edge to edge with a meticulous grid—had become the painter’s hallmark by the early 1960s. Martin would continue to explore this abstract geometric language throughout her long career, initially in New York and later in Taos, New Mexico, where she settled in 1968.

Though she often showed with other New York abstractionists, Martin charted new terrain outside both the broad gestural vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism and the systematic repe­titions of Minimalism. Her practice was tethered to spirituality and drew from a mix of ideas stemming from Zen Buddhism and American Transcendentalism, a nineteenth-century move­ment that emphasized the power of individuality and the importance of nature. Painting is “a world without objects, without interruption . . . or obstacle,” Martin said. “It is to accept the necessity of . . . going into a field of vision as you would cross an empty beach to look at the ocean.”

Publication excerpt from MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)
Medium
Gold leaf and oil on canvas
Dimensions
6' 3" x 6' 3" (190.5 x 190.5 cm)
Credit
Gift of Celeste and Armand P. Bartos
Object number
502.1984
Copyright
© 2021 Estate of Agnes Martin / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Department
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].

Licensing

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research-and-learning/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].

Feedback

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].