Martin Ramirez created nearly 450 drawings of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power while confined in a California mental institution for more than twenty-five years. Diagnosed as schizophrenic, he achieved posthumous fame with recent exhibitions of his works. Eighty important drawings, culled from public and private collections, comprehensively survey his achievement and demonstrate that he was one of the great draftsmen of the twentieth century.
The richness of Ramirez's drawings and the depth of historical and cultural influences in his work point to his deep engagement with society. The artist's unique process-employing found items, homemade pigments, matchsticks, and large swaths of paper- is explored, as are his personal experiences of poverty, exile, and confinement. The volume includes recent research about Ramirez's life, family, and art, and features examples from a cache of previously unknown drawings by Ramirez, whose discovery caused a great sensation.
This dazzling book displays Ramirez's skill and inventiveness and shows why his work is worthy of its own place in the annals of modern art.