Considered one of the self-taught masters of twentieth-century art, Martín Ramírez (1895–1963) created hundreds of drawings and collages of remarkable visual clarity and expressive power. Within the confines of Stockton and DeWitt State Hospital California, where he resided for the last thirty years of his life, Ramirez worked with the limited materials available to produce his astounding art. Nearly one hundred of these drawings and collages were on view in the American Folk Art Museum’s 2007 retrospective of the artist.
An astonishing development during the run of that exhibition was the discovery of a group of previously unknown works. More than 140 works on paper were brought to the museum’s attention by descendants of a doctor at DeWitt, Dr. Max Dunievitz—a remarkable find given that Ramírez’s known body of work up to that time had not exceeded about 300 drawings and collages. Dunievitz had secured supplies for the artist and collected the drawings made between 1960 and 1963—the last works. He also organized the first posthumous Ramírez exhibition, a 1963 show at DeWitt. Martín Ramírez: The Last Works features 140 artworks from this newly discovered treasure trove, including three drawings gifted to the American Folk Art Museum.