Knox Martin (born February 12, 1923) is an American painter, sculptor and muralist.
Born in Barranquilla, Colombia, he studied at the Art Students League of New York from 1946 till 1950. He is one of the leading members of the New York School of artists and writers. He lives and works in New York City.
"Art is at its cutting edge out of a specific lineage - the creation of reality. The subject matter of what I do, is creation." - Knox Martin (1999).
Knox Martin is the oldest son of Lieutenant William Knox Martin, a Virginia-born early aviation pioneer and flyer, and his wife Isabel Vieco, who were married in the Canal Zone in Panama in 1921. Knox Martin Sr., painter, poet, early test pilot, was the first man to fly over the Andes mountains. Six years after his marriage, Martin Sr. was fatally injured in an automobile accident in Watertown, New York.
His widow Isabel relocated with her three young sons from Salem, Virginia to New York City.
After serving in World War II, Knox Martin attended the Art Students League of New York on the G.I. Bill from 1946 to 1950, where he studied with Harry Sternberg, Vaclav Vytlacil, Will Barnet, and Morris Kantor.
In 1954, Knox Martin's friend Franz Kline placed a painting of his in the Stable Gallery Annual. Charles Egan of the Charles Egan Gallery saw Knox Martin's painting at the Stable Gallery and asked Martin to show his work in a one-man show for the tenth anniversary of the Egan Gallery.
Knox Martin is best known for his repertory of signs and symbols that allude to nature and, in particular, to the female form. Flatly and freely painted in brilliant colors, his works have often been executed on a grand scale, as in the outdoor wall painting, Woman with bicycle, at West Houston and MacDougal Streets in Manhattan. He mostly creates painting, sculpture and wall paintings using media such as acrylic, collage, fresco, ink drawing (Pen and Ink), mixed media/multimedia, and oil.
One of his wall paintings in New York City is the twelve-story mural Venus. Painted in 1970, Venus is located on the south side of Bayview Correctional Facility at 19th Street and the West Side Highway.
"Traditionally the goddess of love and fertility, Venus represents woman, erotic and supple, but it also conveys Knox Martin's love affair with New York. Venus is his love poem to the city where he has always lived, a place that is part of his being. The feminine, curvilinear shapes of the image are in direct contrast with the straight forms that intersect the composition. The overwhelming size of this enormous mural only intensifies the experience of female shapes, the linear aspects of the painted composition, and of the surrounding architecture. In an era when art was reaching out to the masses with pop culture, this huge mural was Knox Martin's way of touching a public that would never venture into an art gallery."
Knox Martin's work is included in the collections of Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Modern Art, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Art Students League of New York, Brooklyn Museum of Art, National Academy of Design, National Arts Club, New York University, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Montclair Art Museum, Art Institute of Chicago, Baltimore Museum of Art, Berkeley Art Museum, Blanton Museum of Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, Chrysler Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Heckscher Museum of Art, Hofstra University Museum, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Ithaca Museum, Lowe Art Museum, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Newark Museum, Oklahoma City Museum of Art, Portland Art Museum, Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Reading Public Museum, Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Springfield Art Museum, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Toledo Museum of Art, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Weatherspoon Art Museum, Wellesley College, William Benton Museum of Art, Israel Museum, Ludwig Museum in Budapest, and the Bibliothèque Nationale.
In 2002 Knox Martin was named to the National Academy of Design.
In the fall of 2010 (September 15-November 13) Knox Martin had a one-man show of his Black and White Paintings at Woodward Gallery in New York City.
October 6, 2012 to April 6, 2013, Knox Martin had a solo exhibition of recent paintings, SHE, at the Sam & Adele Golden Gallery at Golden Artist Colors in New Berlin, New York.
September 13, 2013 to October 26, 2013: Knox Martin Exhibition SHE at LGTripp Gallery in Philadelphia.
On November 14, 2016 France conferred the insignia of the Legion of Honour on Knox Martin for his contribution to the liberation of France during World War II.
Knox Martin gives Master Classes at the Art Students League of New York. He taught at Yale Graduate School of Art, first as visiting critic in art, invited by Jack Tworkov, and then as Professor of Art. He has also taught at New York University, the University of Minnesota, and The International School of Painting, Drawing and Sculpture in Umbria, Italy.
- Marika Herskovic, New York School Abstract Expressionists Artists Choice by Artists, (New York School Press, 2000.) ISBN 0-9677994-0-6
- Irving Sandler, From Avant-Garde to Pluralism: An On-The-Spot History, (Hard Press Editions, 2006.)ISBN 1889097683