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The technical skill, stylistic evolution, and thematic coherence of Ramírez led Roberta Smith of The New York Times to describe him as ‘simply one of the greatest artists of the 20th century.’ Ramírez’s talents were recognized early on in small exhibitions as early as the 1950s. Present in the guggenheim and moma collections, in 2010, the 20th-century master was the subject of a comprehensive exhibition organized by Brooke Davis Anderson at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reína Sofía in Madrid, titled Martín Ramírez: Reframing Confinement. In 2015, the United States Postal Service issued a series of five commemorative stamps Martin Ramirez Forever.

Martin Ramirez - © christian berst — art brut
Date 1895 — 1963
Country Mexico

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Martín Ramírez is widely recognized as one of the leading self-taught artists of the 20th century. To support his family, Ramírez moved to the United States in 1925. He worked as an immigrant in Californian mines and railroads until he was arrested by the police in 1931. Ramírez was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Initially institutionalized at the Stockton State Hospital, he was later transferred to DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, where he spent the remainder of his life. It was there that he discovered art and created the intricate and captivating drawings and collages that brought him acclaim.

Throughout his life, Ramírez produced around 500 works characterized by bold and sharply delineated drawing. The imagery is both evocative and nostalgic, often recalling his own life experiences. Mexican madonnas, animals, cowboys, trains, and landscapes blend with scenes from American culture, providing a detailed documentation of a Mexican living and working in the United States. In terms of composition, he renders space multidimensionally, almost theatrically, using sharp geometric forms with strong linear qualities.

art brut masterpieces from 1940 to 2020
artgenève 2024, palexpo B23. From January 25 to 28, 2024.
Culturas Paralelas:
works from the treger saint silvestre collection, Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto, Portugal. From February 17 to April 22, 2023.
Sexual Personae
curated by Alison M. Gingeras, Hôtel Drouot, Paris. From October 21 to 29, 2020.
Histories of violence
a dialogue between the works of the treger saint silvestre collection, Núcleo de arte da oliva, Portugal. From April 14, 2018 to February 28, 2019.
The Museum of everything
Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. From June 17, 2017 to April 2, 2018.
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The Golden Ratio Laws
Oliva Creative Factory, Portugal. From April 29 to September 30, 2017.
Art Brut
A Story of Individual Mythologies, Treger Saint Silvestre Collection, Portugal. From January 1 to February 26, 2017.
The Museum Of Everything
Kunsthal, Rotterdam. From March 5 to May 22, 2016.
by Jean-Hubert Martin, Grand Palais, Paris. From March 2 to July 4, 2016.
Art brut live
DOX centre for contemporary art, Praha. From March 27 to August 17, 2015.
art brut masterpieces and discoveries
carte blanche à bruno decharme, at the gallery. From October 21 to November 29, 2014.
Art brut
ABCD Collection / Bruno Decharme, la Maison rouge, Paris. From October 17, 2014 to January 18, 2015.
Great and mighty things
outsider art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art. From March 3 to June 9, 2013.
Accidental Genius
art from the Anthony Petullo Collection, Milwaukee, USA. From February 10 to May 6, 2012.
Martín Ramírez
Reframing Confinement, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. From March 31 to July 12, 2010.
Martín Ramírez
The Last Works, The American Folk Art Museum, New York. From October 7, 2008 to April 12, 2009.
Martín Ramírez
The American Folk Art Museum, New York. From January 23 to May 13, 2007.
Inner Worlds Outside
Fundacion La Caixa, Madrid ; Whitechapel gallery, London ; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin. From January 18 to December 30, 2006.
Dubuffet & l’art brut
Museum kunst palast, Dusseldorf ; Collection de l'art brut, Lausanne ; LAM, Villeneuve d'Ascq. From April 23 to September 23, 2005.
Parallel visions: modern artists and outsider art
Los Angeles county museum of art. From October 18, 1992 to January 3, 1993.
Martín Ramírez
Pintor Mexicano, Centro Cultural/Arte Contemporaneo, Mexico City. From April 24 to June 24, 1989.
Press review
warm institutional embrance of self-taught artists
Lisa Slominski, Hyperallergic. September 10, 2023.
outsider art of the moment: 66 exhibitors, 7 countries, 1 fair
Holland Cotter, The New York Times. January 18, 2020.
O mercado é bruto?
Valdemar Cruz, Expresso. July 16, 2016.
collection guggenheim
United States
The Museum of Modern Art
United States
Smithsonian Museum Of American Art
United States
Musée national d’art moderne (Pompidou)
collection de l’Art brut
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High Museum of Art
United States
abcd / Bruno Decharme collection
Treger Saint Silvestre collection
American Folk Art Museum
United States
Museum of International Folk Art
United States
Anthony Petullo Collection
United States
Martin Ramirez

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