Agnes Martin

Happy Holiday (1999)

About this artwork

Agnes Martin's spare, geometric compositions have drawn comparison with the work of Minimalist artists. However, Martin maintained that her paintings were concerned with the inner emotional world, searching for a perfection which was impossible to achieve, combined with the desire for contentment and serenity. The artist wrote that all her work, “is about perfection as we are aware of it in our minds but that the paintings are very far from being perfect – completely removed in fact – even as we ourselves are.” This is one of a series of paintings from the 1990s in which the artist used titles to evoke happy memories from the past.

see more information
  • title: Happy Holiday
  • accession number: AR00179
  • artist: Agnes MartinAmerican (1912 - 2004)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Painting
  • date created: 1999
  • measurements: 152.40 x 152.40 X 4.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © Estate of Agnes Martin
  • photographer: Antonia Reeve
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin

Agnes Martin was born in Canada but moved to the United States in 1932, becoming an American citizen in 1950. Her paintings were representational until the mid-1950s. By 1964, she had fully developed her characteristic style of canvases covered with a grid structure. In a manner similar to that employed by Mondrian as well as by contemporary minimalist artists, Martin's use of grids asserts the flatness of the picture plane and suggests a meditative spirituality. Her work avoids personal and biographical references as well as influences from nature. Martin has also written extensively on art.