kenneth martin


kenneth snodgrass Kenneth Martin Snodgrass was born  May 11, 1934 in Denver, Colorado, USA, and died November 7, 2000 in Collioure, France. He was an American painter, but also a portraitist, caricaturist, author and theater director.

After a happy childhood and a strict education in a comfortable Protestant family, he completed his military service in the mountains of Colorado.  He  then continued his art studies at the university of Denver, and In 1958 he wrote his dissertation on Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee and the Impressionists. In 1959 he  took a  university summer school course in Mexico City College in Mexico. In 1960 he wrote his thesis on “The study of the methods of four  20th century American  critics  of the visual arts and their relationship to contemporary art criticism.” He received  a Bachelor’s degree of Fine Arts  and a Master’s of Art. Then he felt the need to travel on his own, hitchhiking on the mythical Denver-San Francisco road  while keeping an illustrated "travel journal".

In 1961 he started to paint, oil on canvas, oil on paper, in rich and smooth abstract expressionism  in which he portrayed fantasies about women.
He came to Europe, first to Amsterdam then Spain and in Germany to Stuttgart, Munich, Heidelberg  with his wife Curly. His show in the Galerie Lutz in Stuttgart met with a certain success in 1964. At the same time he  worked as caricaturist for the satirical journal ”Simplissimus” and taught art to NATO soldiers.  Writing was  an integral part of his life; in his journal he questions himself on the meaning of art, the  meaning of life: “It is why I repeat that an artist should do what he wants most to do, irrespective of fashion”.
He signed his canvases K MartinS.

In 1965 he decided to remain in France, where he met his second  companion Françoise. For a while he lived in Evreux where he directed plays by Eugène Ionesco, Murray Schisgal and John Carlino  and created his own theater company.

From there, Kenneth and Françoise moved to an arid region in the south, in the Montagne Noir which reminded him of his native Colorado. He painted women in an orgy of colors, oils on canvas, silk-screen prints, canvasses obsessed with sexuality. Invited in 1973 by the University of Ottawa, Kansas as Artist in Residence, he travelled often between France and the United States.

At this time he started to add collages to the oils on canvas or paper; this development brought him a certain calm: "First, I use magazine cuttings that I like and I glue them onto paper. Then I draw with pencil. I set the drawing , then add a sort of oil paint  leaving a lot of white so as not to destroy the quality or the relation between the drawing and the whole.”

This is a retrospective series which he began in 1976 “ in which figures are mixed with portraits of women out of my past and present,  auto-portraits, landscapes and village scenes, houses where I had once lived ...I all mixed together on the same canvas to form a sort of abstract composition of memories and events in my life.”
He painted life as he saw it, as he lived it.  Everything is rich in imagination and color.

This period of writing, of questioning, of justification and of reminiscences  heralded  the dramatic change in his painting during the 1980’s.

In Collioure he met Denise who became his third wife with whom he had  a daughter, Mathilde, in 1982. With love comes stability. The man changes, so does the painter. He stopped pouring out dread in his journal. He stopped writing.
In the land of light,the sun warmed him and he found peace. The colors of his canvasses softened gradually. The forms became more abstract once again.
Symbols expressed  strength and wealth.  He no longer painted his life, but his soul. He   tapped the power of his  spirituality.

Collages invaded his canvas, combined with acrylic as thoughts or messages. He revealed the inner Kenneth who would sign his pictures Snodgrass for the last twenty years of his life.

L’Homme Croix "The cross man"

“Everything is suggestion: it is not message painting, but a picture which emanates.” (CJ)

Les Grands bleus "The Seas"
Les jardins zen "The Zen Gardens"
“.. Something like a slow erosion reveals these imaginary topographies, which recall lost countries, scraps  of a planet adrift...”
(Gérard Xuriguera)
The heads
Retrospective Self-portraits

During the last years of his life he created a series of heads,  and  in the painting “Retrospective Self-Portrait”,  he  reveals  a part of himself,  for posterity and eternity: “His work is a fascinating atlas where the geography of the real  is transformed in flowerings of memory,  the  embellishments of dream.”
(G-H Gourrier)

- Biography by Monique Laguens translated by Ellen Hall -



1960 Vogue Theater Gallery, Denver USA
1961 Galeria Moderno, Barcelone Spain
1961 Lelieu, Spain
1964 Lutz and Myer Gallery, Stuttggart Germany
1964 Gunther Frank Gallery, Munich Germany
1967 Casino galerie, Valras France
1968 Galerie Historial, Nyon Switzerland
1969 Galerie Aurora, Genève Switzerland
1969 Galerie Municipale, Sète France
1969 Breslaner Gallery, Munich Germany
1969 Galerie Chantepierre, Aubone Switzerland
1971 Invité d'hnneur Biennale de Béziers, France
979 Shelburne, Orchards Vermont USA
1980 Galerie Domenech, Perpignan France
1981 Burlington Vermont, San Francisco USA
1992 Galerie Made, Thannhausen Germany
1993 Art Jonction, Cannes France
1993 GalerieMade, Thannhausen Germany
1994 Galerie Horizon, Colera Spain
1994 Galerie Thérèse Roussel, Perpignan France
1995 Galerie AKKA, rue de Seine, Paris France
1995 Noel Fine Art, New York USA
1995 Galerie Horizon, Colera Spain
1988 Galerie Thérèse Roussel, Perpignan France
1991 Galerie Nuances, La Grande Motte, France
1993 Galerie Image de Marque, Nîmes France
Galerie Thérèse Roussel, Perpignan France


1959 64th Annual for Western Artists, Art Museum, Denver USA
1959 12th Mid-America annual William Rockhill Nelson Gallery, Kansas-city USA
1959 10th Denver Metropolitan, Art Museum, Denver USA
1960 6th Midwest Biennal exhibition Jocelyn, Art Museum, Omaha-Neb. USA
1967-69 Jeune Peinture et Sculpture Méditerranéenne de Nice, Nice France
1968 Salon d’Arcueil échanges culturels, Arcueil France
1973-1974-1975 Mostra del Larzac France
1989 Guest of honor Salon d’Auch, Auch France
1989 F.I.A.C de Toulouse, Toulouse France


Musée Peské, Collioure France
2009 Palais des Rois de Majorque Juillet Août, Perpignan France
2010 Salle municipale "Ancienne mairie de Collioure" France
2011 Espace Maillol, Palais des Congrès Georges Pompidou, Perpignan France


"Une rétrospective KENNETH MARTIN SNODGRASS Denver-Collioure"
Editions TaLaia 2007


Articles à découvrir :





Tous droits réservés © Kenneth Martin Snodgrass - Ce site a été réalisé par Créationgraphic