Leonora Carrington, “Sketches from Down Below”

An intricate pencil drawing of a lion's head, a tiger's head, and spherical forms, with the artist's notations.

Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art is pleased to announce the presentation of a rare original sketchbook by Leonora Carrington, drawn in October 1940 while the 23 year old artist was involuntarily committed to the Sanatario Morales, a psychiatric institution in Santander, Spain. Following the forced separation from her lover Max Ernst and the onset of World War II, Carrington suffered a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized by her British parents. While she was suffering through drug-induced seizures, the chemical equivalent of shock therapy, she was also provided with art materials by her doctor, Luis Morales, and encouraged to draw as part of the healing process.

Informally titled “Sketches from Down Below,” this is one of only two known sketchbooks from this period. One that is dated September, 1940 was broken up many years ago and the pages are dispersed throughout various collections. The one we are exhibiting is still intact after 78 years and consists of original front and back covers and 30 graphite drawings.

The sketches bear witness to Carrington’s exquisite draftsmanship, imagination and creativity. Several of them relate directly to paintings she completed in 1941- 42 following her release from the hospital, her journey to New York and reconnection with expatriate surrealist friends, including André and Jacqueline Breton, Stella Snead, Luis Buñuel, Amédée Ozenfant, Max Ernst and Peggy Guggenheim. The notebook was acquired by a private collector from the Surrealist dealer Julien Levy (1906-1981), who obtained it directly from the artist.

Image © Estate of Leonora Carrington / ARS

David Alfaro Siqueiros “Self-Portrait with Mirror,” 1937


Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art is pleased to announce the “discovery” of an important painting by the Mexican Muralist, David Alfaro Siqueiros, the 1937 Self-Portrait with Mirror. Known only from a black and white photograph, this extraordinary painting, purchased from the artist by the American composer George Gershwin (1898-1937), has been referred to as “lost” for about 80 years. Gershwin died of a brain tumor at the age of 38 and so the history of the painting marks the end of a dramatic and tragic story. Gershwin’s estate was inherited by his mother and the painting hung for most of its existence on Central Park West in New York City.

An experimental self-portrait of David Alfaro Siqueiros holding up a mirror and looking at his mask-like reflection.
David Alfaro Siqueiros, “Self-Portrait with Mirrror,” pyroxylin on Bakelite, 30 × 24 inches, signed and dated 1937

Not seen in public since early 1937, the work will be shown this summer in a mini exhibition at Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art, surrounded by other key works by Siqueiros, including: Landscape (Taxco), c. 1931, La Patrona, 1939, Portrait of Señorita Martita Orrego Matte, 1942, and The Good Neighbor Policy, 1951

Installation shot with four paintings by David Alfaro Siqueiros in the back gallery
Installation view of Siqueiros exhibition

Known for his active participation in Left Wing politics – he was a Communist and also fought on the side of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War – Siqueiros figured prominently in the history of avant-garde art. In 1936 he founded his “Experimental Workshop” at 5 West Fourteenth Street in New York City. The mission of the Workshop was to explore the use of modern industrial materials such as Duco (pyroxylin) and other synthetics, using tools like spray guns, palette knives and a technique he called “controlled accidents.” His most promising student was the 24 year old Jackson Pollock, whose later “drip paintings” changed the history of post-war American art.

Self-Portrait with Mirror, which has survived in near-perfect condition, is airbrushed with pyroxylin on a sheet of Bakelite, a highly unusual combination. Although the painting has been written about extensively, and even appears on the cover of a book, no art historian had seen it in color or examined it in person until two weeks ago, when, at our invitation, esteemed Siqueiros expert, Dr. Irene Herner Reiss traveled from Mexico to study the painting and was thrilled to see this famous work at last.

Painting by David Alfaro Siqueiros showing George Gershwin playing the piano onstage in a large concert hall filled with people.
David Alfaro Siqueiros, “George Gershwin in a Concert Hall,” oil on canvas, 66 15/16 × 90 3/4 inches, 1936

While they had met earlier, the friendship between George Gershwin and Siqueiros developed on a trip that Gershwin made to Mexico in 1935, led by the psychoanalyst Dr. Gregory Zilboorg. Gershwin, an amateur painter, hit it off with Siqueiros right away and invited him to paint his portrait, which after many changes and amplifications resulted in the large and elaborate canvas, George Gershwin in a Concert Hall, 1936. Gershwin, a serious collector of Modern art, was a great admirer of Siqueiros’s work and owned five of his paintings. He contributed generously to the funding of The Experimental Workshop, and one of the works he owned, Proletarian Victim, 1933 was donated to the MoMA, New York by the Estate of George Gershwin.

Mary-Anne Martin Fine Art is excited to present Self-Portrait with Mirror to the public for the first time, in glowing color.


Please contact Mary-Anne Martin or Emmaline Deihl for more information.

Gallery hours
June and July: Monday – Friday, 11am-5pm
August hours by appointment

Video: Unframing David Alfaro Siqueiros’s “Self-Portrait with Mirror”

Self-Portrait with Mirror exemplifies David Alfaro Siqueiros’s deep interest in radical techniques and materials. Painted in 1936, while Siqueiros was conducting the Experimental Workshop in New York City at 5 West 14th St., the work is airbrushed with pyroxylin on a sheet of Bakelite. Pyroxylin (Duco) paint is a nitrocellulose paint manufactured for the automobile industry. Dr. Irene Herner, the highly esteemed expert on Siqueiros, visited Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art to view and research the painting. The work was taken out of the frame so that its highly unusual medium could be examined.

Video credit: Deborah Roan

Installation Shots: David Alfaro Siqueiros

Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art presents a mini exhibition of seminal works by David Alfaro Siqueiros, spanning twenty years of his career. Self-Portrait with Mirror (1937) is being exhibited to the public for the first time since 1937.


Works on view

Landscape (Taxco), c. 1931

Self-Portrait with Mirror, 1937

La Patrona, 1939

Retrato de Señorita Martita Orrego Matte, 1942 (Private Collection)

The Good Neighbor Policy, 1951 (Private Collection)


Leonora Carrington Drawings and Watercolors, 1941 – 2002

As part of Master Drawings New York 2017, Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art will exhibit a selection of works on paper by Surrealist artist Leonora Carrington celebrating the centennial year of her birth. Carrington’s intelligence, humor, and technical skills are readily apparent in her drawings, which offer viewers an insight into her artistic process and vivid imagination. The show will include studies for paintings and prints, costume sketches and set designs, diary notes and political satire. These 30 works span Carrington’s career, and many are being exhibited publicly for the first time.

Master Drawings New York runs from January 21 through January 28. Please visit the Master Drawings website or call the gallery for hours. There is a preview at the gallery on January 20, from 4 to 8 pm. The Carrington exhibition at Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art will continue through Wednesday, February 22. Selected paintings and sculptures will also be on view.

The following is a selection of works from the exhibition.

Images © 2017 Estate of Leonora Carrington / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



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Art Basel Miami Beach 2016 Online Preview

We invite you to visit Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art at Art Basel Miami Beach (Booth D2), November 30-December 4, 2016. The gallery will exhibit recent acquisitions and a selection of “classic” inventory including masterworks by Mario Carreño, Leonora Carrington, Gunther Gerzso, Matta, Carlos Mérida, Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Rufino Tamayo, Francisco Toledo, and Remedios Varo. We will also feature new works in glass and on paper by Panamanian artist Isabel De Obaldía.

Visit the Art Basel Miami Beach website to learn more about the fair.

Please contact Mary-Anne Martin for more information.

The following is a selection of works that will be exhibited.


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A Visit with Isabel De Obaldía

On a recent trip to Panama, travel enthusiast and blogger Vanessa Grall, founder of the blog Messy Nessy Chic, visited the studio of renowned sculptor Isabel De Obaldía. Besides getting a firsthand look at De Obaldía’s artistic process, Grall was interested to learn more about the history of Panama. De Obaldía took her on a drive through her neighborhood, which was originally built and occupied by American military personnel.

Read The Living American Ghost Towns of Panama for a tour of the artist’s studio, including photos and a video of her work in progress, and a look back into the history of Panama.

Visit Isabel De Obaldía’s website

See available works by Isabel De Obaldía at Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art


Isabel De Obaldía's studio. Photo courtesy of Messy Nessy Chic.
Isabel De Obaldía’s studio. Photo courtesy of Messy Nessy Chic.
Isabel De Obaldia
The artist in her home. Photo courtesy of Messy Nessy Chic.


Booth Preview for The Art Show, March 2-6, 2016

Please visit Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art at The ADAA Art Show at the Park Avenue Armory, March 2-6 (Booth A15). The gallery is featuring works by Mexican and Latin American artists who were influenced by 20th Century avant-garde European movements.

Please contact Mary-Anne Martin or Emmaline Deihl for more information.

The following is a selection of works that will be exhibited:


Drawings by the Muralists

Mary-Anne Martin|Fine Art is exhibiting a selection of works on paper by Mexican muralists Leonora Carrington, Elena Climent, José Clemente Orozco, Diego Rivera and Rufino Tamayo. The exhibition is on view through February 19, 2016.

The following is a selection of works from the exhibition.


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Latin American Art Week Online Preview

We invite you to visit the gallery during Latin American Art Week to see a special exhibition of recent acquisitions and selected inventory. “Spiders, Rats, Sharks, Snails, Snakes, and Scorpions” features paintings, drawings, and sculpture by artists including Carrington, De Obaldía, Gerzso, Goeritz, Izquierdo, Kahlo, Lam, Matta, Orozco, Paalen, Rivera, and Tamayo. Besides a menagerie of animals, the exhibition features important works of surrealism, abstraction, and portraiture.