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3 Modern Art Icons that Frequently Visited St. Martin

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Saint Martin is a gorgeous island renowned for its exquisite beaches and vibrant beauty. Whether you're seeking peace or parties or anything in between, St. Martin has it all. Because of this, it should come as no surprise that well-known artists from around the world have frequently visited the island over the years. Within the world of modern art, there are three well-known artists who have frequented St. Martin, cementing the French side of the island as a landmark in art history.

Jasper Johns

Born in 1930, Jasper Johns is an American painter, sculptor, printmaker, and more whose works of art are associated with abstract expressionism and pop art movements. Jasper Johns is widely known for his portrayals of the American flag and other everyday objects and icons, such as targets, maps, letters, and numbers.

Of the three artists on this list, Jasper Johns is the only one to have called St. Martin home for a long period of his life. Jasper Johns first began visiting Saint Martin in the late 1960’s and purchased an exquisite property here in 1972. Famed architect Philip Johnson was the principal designer of his villa, a long, white, rectangular home divided into three distinct sections with unobstructed views of the Simpson Bay Lagoon and Marigot Bay on one side, and its swimming pool and landscaped pavilion on the other.

Besides living at the home, Jasper Johns created many well known pieces in his studio at this villa including his famous numbers 0 through 9, which he produced at his St. Martin villa in February 1979. “I was in Saint Martin at the time, and when I would go to sleep fragments of thought would run through my head at 90 miles an hour. One thought wouldn’t connect to the next thought, it was almost like images flashing,” stated Jasper Johns.

Sold by Jasper Johns and fully restored and renovated in recent years, Villa Jasper is a serene luxury property available to rent privately as a 2 or 3 bedroom nestled in Terres Basses, Saint Martin. While major upgrades have been made to the property’s comfort and amenities, much care and attention was taken to ensure that Philip Johnson’s distinct minimalism and purity of line was preserved and that the soul of Jasper John’s house remain palpable.

Ellsworth Kelly

Born in 1923 and unfortunately passing away in 2015, Ellsworth Kelly, like Jasper Johns, was an American painter, sculptor, and printmaker. Often associated with hard-edge painting, minimalism, and bright colors, Ellsworth Kelly’s works display unassuming techniques emphasizing line, color and form.

While Ellsworth Kelly’s postcard collage collection exemplifies his artistic vision and play with scale shifts, it also serves as an artifact of his long history of visiting St. Martin, where he often stayed with his friend, Jasper Johns, at his aforementioned home on the island. On his trips to St. Martin, Ellsworth Kelly was often accompanied by his husband and widely known photographer Jack Shear, whose photography of Jasper Johns in St. Martin is in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. 

Andy Warhol

Born in 1928 and tragically passing away in 1987, Andy Warhol was an undeniable leader of the American pop art movement as a visual artist, film director, producer, and more.

Known for having his camera with him at all times, Andy Warhol and his companion Jon Gould’s trips to St. Martin are well documented and photographed, with frequent trips to Terres Basses to enjoy the beautiful Baie Longue beach and the chic hotel, La Samanna, now a Belmond Hotel.

The Artist Experience in St. Martin

Artists, collectors, students, and vacationers alike looking to experience the stunning beauty of Saint Martin through the lens of these three artists have the unique opportunity to rent the Jasper Johns villa that was often visited by Ellsworth Kelly, or rent one of many exquisite villas on Baie Longue beach such as Baie Longue Beach House, Casa de la Playa, or Turtle Nest to get the Andy Warhol experience.

Those interested in learning more about renting these unique properties should be sure to contact our team of Saint Martin real estate and vacation experts for assistance.

All photography featured in this blog is credited to the talented photographers and content creators whose work has been sourced from various platforms. 

1. Jasper Johns 2. Targets 3. Maps 4. American Flag 5. Ellsworth Kelly 6. Andy Warhol

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