Some may have thought its stripes represented a Hudson Bay blanket when they woke up this morning, but  a quick click reminds them of the great minimalist painter Agnes Martin‘s sublime work. She would have been 102 today.

Born in Canada and celebrated by the nation’s top museums from MoMA to the Whitney, the Hirschorn to the National Gallery of Art. She was a graduate of Columbia University who would eventually be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters and receive a National Medal of Honor from the NEA. Perhaps the best place to see a large body of her work today is the permanent display of her paintings at the DIA Foundation in Beacon, NY.

She spent most of her professional life in New York City, cavorting with the other most important painters of her day such as Ad Reinhardt, Ellsworth Kelly, and Barnett Newman. She was discovered by one of the legendary gallerist Betty Parsons.  Later in life she settled near Taos, New Mexico.

“Agnes Martin’s work was minimally elegant and gives definition to those two words,” Earl A. Powell, as director of the National Gallery of Art, told The Washington Post’s Matt Schudelin 2004. “Her work was subdued, quiet, serene and contemplative. She made a huge contribution to postwar art.”

Her influence on minimalist art has been compared to John Cage’s in the field of music. They are indeed subtle and can often be over looked in collections that include flashier work by the likes of, say, Richard Serra or Nam June Paik. But their meditative qualities are rewarding.

“My paintings are not about what is seen,” she explained. “They are about what is known forever in the mind.”

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