Brice Marden (b. 1938, Bronxville, NY) is a seminal figure of the Minimalist movement, although his work extends to include influences from Abstract Expressionism and non-Western traditions. He is known for his dedication to color and form as a way to explore intangible states through abstract elements, including the monochrome, the grid, and calligraphic marks.
Marden received his MFA from Yale University in 1963, having studied under Alex Katz and Jon Schueler. He later moved to New York, where he worked as a guard at the Jewish Museum in New York before becoming Robert Rauschenberg’s assistant. His signature language of a rectangular format and muted palette was realized early in his career through monochromatic panels first done in 1964. These densely colored canvases were done as single panel works, diptychs, and triptychs. They were influenced by Roman and Greek architecture, and later imbued the light and landscape of Hydra, a Greek island Marden has frequented with his wife since the early 1970s. In 1983, after a visit to South Asia, his practice pivoted from the serial, geometric format to more calligraphic, gestural lines and heightened color.
Marden has engaged with printmaking since the beginning of his career, most notably with etchings, which he considers one of the most important influences on his paintings and drawings. In 2015, the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibited Marden’s etchings alongside Freud’s in “Existentialism and Abstraction.” Other major printmaking shows have taken place at the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in 1999, the Saint Louis Art Museum in 1993, London’s Tate Gallery in 1992, and Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum in 1981. He has had important exhibitions throughout the world including a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 2006, and solo shows at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Documenta IX, Kassel; and Serpentine Gallery, London.