Painter Agnes Martin made some of art history’s most transcendent minimalist canvases, known for their mesmerizing economy of line and color. It’s no wonder, then, that her daily life and dietary habits were marked by restraint and simplicity, too.
After she hightailed it out of New York in the mid-1960s, she settled in the New Mexican desert. There, she lived a mostly solitary life, with self-imposed restrictions that she believed kept her mind clear and gave her more time and energy for her practice
. Often, this approach manifested in ascetic food choices. One winter, she consumed only
walnuts, hard cheeses, and preserved tomatoes grown in her garden; another season, she subsisted on a concoction of gelatin, orange juice, and bananas.
During dealer Arne Glimcher’s many visits to Martin’s New Mexico studio over the course of her life (she died in 2004 at the age of 92), he noticed that she returned to one snack consistently: In times of intense artistic output, she turned to bananas and coffee. As Martin entered her eighties, though, she began to loosen up, allowing herself the occasional martini.