MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)
MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)
MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)
MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)
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MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)

Untitled (Tunnels and Train), 1950s

MARTIN RAMIREZ (1895-1963)
Untitled (Tunnels and Train), 1950s
graphite and crayon on two sheets of joined brown paper
67 x 38 in.
Untitled has been assigned number MR369 by the artist's estate
Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, 1976
Roberta Smith, Russell Bowman and Stephen Martin, The Heart of Creation: The Art of Martin Ramirez, (Goldie Paley Gallery, 1985), fig. 21.
Artscribe International (September/October 1986), p. 74.
John Beardsley and Jane Livingston, Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors (Museum of FIne Arts Houston, 1987).
Robert Hughes, “Heritage of Rich imagery,” Time (11 July 1988), p. 64.
Calendar, Los Angeles Times (5 February 1989), p. 8.
LA Weekly (17-23 March 1989), p. 24.
London, Hayward Gallery, Outsiders: An Art without Precedent or Tradition, 8 February - 8 April 1979.
Philadelphia, Goldie Paley Gallery, Moore College of Art; Regina, Saskatchewan, Dunlop Art Gallery; Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Museum; Chicago, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, The Art of Martin Ramirez, 6 September 1985 - 30 August 1986.
Houston, Museum of Fine Arts Houston; Washington D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art; Denver, Denver Art Museum; Mexico City, Museo Rufino Tamayo; Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters & Sculptors, May 1987 - 4 September 1989.

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Cara Zimmerman
Cara Zimmerman Head of Americana and Outsider Art

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Lot Essay

In 1988 Time art critic Robert Hughes described Untitled (Tunnels and Train) as “so grand in its architecture of repeated curves that it deserves a place in any anthology of American drawing.” An exceptional example of Martín Ramírez’s ability to create depth through linework and objects through abstracted pattern, Untitled indeed shows the artist at the height of his skill. Using simple materials and sophisticated, self-assured marks, Ramírez transforms brown paper into a swirling landscape capturing the movement of the railroad.
Ramírez drew what he knew, from animals and horsemen in his native Mexico to railroads and cars that marked his early experiences in the United States. Born in Jalisco, Mexico, he spent five years as a sharecropper and journeyman laborer before purchasing a small piece of land near his hometown. He had difficulty repaying the loans for this purchase, so he left for the United States in search of temporary work on August 24, 1925. In January 1931 Ramírez was picked up by the San Joaquin County, California police and sent to the Stockton State Hospital with a diagnosis of manic depression. Transferred to the DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, California in 1948, he remained institutionalized until his death on February 17, 1963. After the artist’s arrival at DeWitt, psychologist Dr. Tarmo Pasto noticed Ramírez’s drawings and provided a steady supply of paper and pencils, preserved his work and arranged exhibitions.
Untitled has been in the same private collection since 1976. This work has been granted clear title by the artist's estate.

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