There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about the master artist Knox Martin. His beautiful soul has permeated my life for over four years since our first meeting in his Washington Heights home and studio in New York City. I knew from the moment I met Knox, that he was gold. His warm, expressive eyes penetrate you in a way you feel like you’re the only person on his planet. Much like his father, William Knox Martin, an aviator who was the first man to fly over the Andes Mountains, he has pursued his life with gusto!
Knox served in the U.S. Coast Guard on a flotilla, putting him in harm’s way at Omaha Beach during the invasion of Normandy, France in World War II; studied at the Art Students League of New York on the G.I. Bill after the War; received recognition by Franz Kline, Bill de Kooning, and the important Stable Gallery, Charles Egan Gallery, and the Whitney Museum of American Art early in his career; taught at Yale, New York University, University of Minnesota, the International School in Italy, the Art Students League of New York; and traveled the world, seeing him in photographs riding an elephant, lounging with a tiger, or telling a tale about his remarkable encounter with a massive whale.
Knox’s stunning work encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, mosaics, multi-story murals, and poetry. Every time I seek more information about him, I’m really overwhelmed by the depth and sincerity of this artist who has dedicated his life to spreading his message of spirituality. I’ve been privileged to sit with him as he recites Yeats with tears in his eyes, while surrounded by the incredible art in his studio. We’ve discussed jazz and 1950s art-world intrigue, talked through his painting of grapes or how he executed his latest creation, he has shown me how he makes his favorite coffee, drawn me, and cooked for me on more than one occasion. I’ve even seen him sling a knife on the floor over a guest mutilating his meticulously prepared pasta dish!
I celebrate Knox on his 89th birthday, February 12—to Knox, with love.
Knox Martin and The Whaling Wall maquette | © 2012 Knox Martin/VAGA New York NY | Photo by Gaby Ryan
Knox Martin painting in studio on 9-21-11 | © 2011 Knox Martin/VAGA New York NY | Photo by Gaby Ryan