Crow With No Mouth possesses a complex and playful sensibility that guides the eye and the imagination. With its large, simplistic shapes, brilliant colors, free execution, and complex structure, Knox Martin’s monumental painting is immediately recognizable as his own work. Martin drew inspiration for this painting from the fifteenth-century Japanese Zen master Ikkyu Sojun’s poem, “Crow With No Mouth.” An excerpt from the poem is written below:
Hearing a crow with no mouth
Cry in the deep Darkness of the night,
I feel a longing for
My father before he was born
In 1954, Knox Martin’s professional career took off when Frank Kline selected one of his paintings for inclusion in the Stable Gallery Annual. Dealer Charles Egan took note of Martin’s painting at the Stable Gallery and invited the artist to produce a one-man exhibition at his eponymous gallery. For a 1954 New York Times review of the show at the Charles Egan Gallery, Stuart Preston wrote the following: “It is in his ecstatic pen and brush drawings of women that Martin shows himself to be a draftsman of exceptional power and assurance; some are hastily done, but even the most lively scribbles throb with a particular intensity, both visual and sensational, that causes one to remember that Spanish warmth counts a lot for him, and that the blood of Goya is in his veins.”
Throughout his career, Martin has enjoyed praise from critics and collectors alike. His works have been placed in over forty important museum collections in the United States and abroad. Additionally, Martin has been commissioned for several large-scale mural projects.
Dimensions: 80 H x 65 W inches
©Knox Martin/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
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