Brice Marden was born in New York in 1938. After receiving a BFA from Boston University and an MFA from Yale’s School of Art and Architecture, Marden moved to New York City to work as a guard at the Jewish Museum in 1964. While he was working at the museum, a retrospective of Jasper Johns' work was held giving Marden the chance to study his work in depth.
Marden also took a trip to Paris the following summer to study further the works of Alberto Giacometti and Jean Fautrier, and more traditional painters such as Diego Velázquez and Édouard Manet. Marden’s first solo exhibition was at the Bykert Gallery in New York while he was working as an assistant to Robert Rauschenberg in 1966. The style of Marden’s work at this time was based particularly on oil beeswax painting usually with 3 dense colors in a rectangular format.
Marden visited the Greek island Hydra every year, and it was the first year he went in 1971 and onwards that Marden’s monochrome panels became more influenced by the light and landscape. Tours of Asia by Marden also had this effect on his work. In the late 70s and early 80s, Marden’s fascination of Greek and Roman architecture led him to paint on marble panels too. The critically acclaimed Cold Mountain Series he produced between 1989-91 showed his interest in Japenese calligraphy bringing his work further into the genre of abstract expressionism. Marden’s approach to his work made his style difficult to categorize: his infusion of various influences has assisted in this and gained him international appeal.
Marden’s first solo museum show was a retrospective of his work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York in 1975. Exhibitions of his works have included; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Documenta IX, Kassell; the Serpentine Gallery, and the Tate Gallery in London. A retrospective of his work originally curated by the MoMa, New York in 2006 travelled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2007, closing at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart that summer. The artist died in 2023.