As a child, Knox Martin lived across the street from the Hispanic Museum at 155th Street in NYC, where, for years, he copied in his notebooks etchings and drawings by Goya that were on exhibition. It's been sixty-seven years that Los Caprichos has fascinated Knox Martin. Reviewing the artist's first one-man show at the Charles Egan Gallery for the New York Times in 1954, Stuart Preston wrote: 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.

In 1955, Willem de Kooning sent Meyer Schapiro to Knox Martin's studio to see Concert in the Park. Martin remembers, that an enthusiastic Schapiro told him things he thought only other painters knew. Schapiro understood that the artist's latest canvas complemented his more metaphorical work, and left with the friendly warning of "don't neglect this side."

This side is the thousands of drawings Knox Martin has done over the years, and they add up to Caprichos. In Caprichos Knox Martin creates a new kind of space. As Arthur Danto wrote of Martin's recent works in 1998: The same parameters must be worked as those required by the earlier paintings. But the images have gotten richer and the philosophy of painting deeper, and the experience of constituting the works through close visual reading is as rewarding as contemporary art provides.

Knox Martin

Caprichos - an exhibition of the 1955 canvas,
Concert in the Park, and recent related works

April 29th - September 12th, 2003

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