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Four History Pictures Kenneth Martin


Kenneth Martin Sheffield 1905 – 1984 London

Date 1982
Object type print
Medium, technique 4 screenprints

each: 82 x 58 cm

Inventory number MO.91.76-79
Collection Department of Art after 1800
On view This artwork is not on display

Kenneth Martin is a leading figure of the revival of contructivist traditions in both painting and sculpture, the patron of the new generation of British constructivists. Preserving their individuality in creation, he worked as associates with his wife Mary Martin. Kenneth made his first abstract paintings in 1949, followed from 1951 by kinetic constructions that were to be the main concern of his creative efforts in the next twenty years. After his wife’s death (1969), however, he made almost exclusively paintings and graphic works. In these works chance gets a great role (he often determined the structure of a composition by casting a die), so does a strictly calculated transcribing mechanism that lends the works an ascetic character and preserves at the same time the emotive feeling of motion.
This series contains the last works of his life earning the title History Pictures, since they represent their own genesis, the temporal and spatial evolution of their internal structure. The sequential construction of the works, at times the emergence of an illusory spatial form are preceded by mathematical calculations determining the phases of development. Despite the rigorously ascetic manner of production, the viewer’s attention is captured by the excellent pictorial outlay of the work of art. “A rational objective basis is necessary to the wildest flights of fancy, to improvisation and to the irrational in order to create the work of art.” (K.Martin)

Ferenc Tóth


Tóth, Ferenc, A Bryan Montgomery gyűjtemény. Vezető, A Szépművészeti Múzeum gyűjteményei/The Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest 3, Szépművészeti Múzeum; The British Council, p. 112-113.

This record is subject to revision due to ongoing research.

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