Up In Arms #2 currently marks the sixth-highest auction result for Martinez’s work, and one of just two works in his top 10 auction records dating from before his 2010 shift toward abstraction. According to Tsui, his various styles and bodies of work have a broad appeal with collectors, with factors like color and size often being more important than period or subject matter. “Some might be drawn to a particular series such as ‘Table Paintings’ or the ‘Love Letter’ series, etc.,” she said, “while others might collect paintings from various series or subjects to form a full collection.”
How Martinez feels about collectors’ omnivorous appetite for his work is hard to say. (Through his gallery, Martinez declined a request to be interviewed for this article.) Though he’s been candid about his practice—and his critical reexaminations of it at any given moment—he’s tended to be a lot less vocal about how his work is received by others.
“Eddie’s very quiet. There are so many painters who love to theorize about what they do, but Eddie doesn’t do that, which I appreciate,” Bessa said. “He puts the work in and he wants you to talk about what the work is about.”