Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists: Spotlight on the Hirshhorn

Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists is a NMWA-organized collaborative city-wide project highlighting works by women artists. During 2012, institutions throughout the Washington area are featuring an array of signature works by women artists that have enriched their distinguished collections. This landmark program, in conjunction with NMWA’s 25th anniversary celebration, continues NMWA’s dedication to celebrating women’s achievements in the visual, performing, and literary arts. This excerpt explores one of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden’s signature works by a woman artist, Agnes Martin’s Garden. Visit and download the pdf map to begin your journey!  

Agnes Martin, Garden, 1964

Agnes Martin, Garden, 1964; Synthetic polymer and colored pencil on linen, 72 ½ x 72 ⅛ in.; Holenia Purchase Fund and Joseph H. Hirshhorn Fund 2001
On view through spring 2012.

Agnes Martin’s abstract paintings evoke quiet contemplation through the simplicity of their geometric order. Although not a practitioner, Martin became interested in Zen Buddhism and Taoist thought in the late 1940s and early 1950s, incorporating ideas about discipline, meditation, and unity into her work. She developed her signature compositions—subtle grids of muted colors on identical 6-x-6-foot canvas mounts—during the 1960s. In Garden, subtle tension is created by the red and green lines of the grille-like pattern. Typical of Martin’s paintings, a precisely rendered linear foreground balances a vast, delicately toned background, producing a harmonious structure and space. On view through spring 2012.

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Independence Ave. & 7th St. SW, Washington DC; Website:

NMWA: Great Washington Museums Celebrate Great Women Artists .