December 13, 2014

AMERICAN PAINTER ROBERT MOTHERWELL




PAINTER ROBERT MOTHERWELL
AMERICAN / 1915 - 1991




PHOENICIAN RED STUDIO 1977
Acrylic and Charcoal on Canvas
Dimensions: 218.4 x 487.7 cm
Collection: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao




FACE OF THE NIGHT ( FOR OCTAVIO PAZ ) CA. 1977 -1981
Acrylic on Canvas
Dimensions: 182.9 × 457.2 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA. New York, NY




OCTAVIO PAZ, THREE POEMS 1988
The Limited Editions Club, New York
Lithographs
Dimensions: 591 x 495 mm.
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




THREATENING PRESENCE 1976
Acrylic on Canvas
Dimensions: 182.9 x 457.2 cm
Collection: Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid




Over his career Motherwell explored and refined in what he considered an 'endless challenge' of a serial image which came to be known as the Spanish Elegy series. From 1948, Motherwell explored this iconic image in drawing, painting and later in printmaking. His constant search for the perfect rendition of this form was infinite, explaining:
‘’ My Elegies … are silent, monumental, more architectonic, a massing of black against white, those two sublime colors, when used as a color … The reason I've made so many works … that could be called series … They remain an endless challenge ‘’ Robert Motherwell

http://nga.gov.au/Motherwell/




ST. MICHEL III - 1979
Lithograph
Dimensions: 106.7 × 81.3 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




NEW ENGLAND ELEGY 2
September 1965-February 1966
Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas
Dimensions: 208.3 x 351.1 cm
Credit Line: Gift of S. I. Newhouse, Jr.




LYRIC SUITE – 1965




MORALLY DUBIOUS




ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC No. 110 - 1971
Acrylic With Graphite and Charcoal on Canvas
Dimensions: 208.3 x 289.6 cm
Credit Line: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
New York Gift, Agnes Gund, 1984




March 19, 1979 - June 3, 1979
Robert Motherwell & Black, curated by Stephanie Terenzio, is shown at the William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut, Storrs. Terenzio becomes a close collaborator over the next decade, working on an unpublished memoir with Motherwell and editing the first edition of the Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell (Oxford University Press, 1992).




THE VOYAGE: TEN YEARS AFTER, 1960 - 1962
Oil and Charcoal on Canvas
Dimensions: 174.6 x 522.6 cm
Collection: Guggenheim Museum Bilbao










ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC, 1970
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions: 209.6 x 478.8 cm
Collection of David Mirvish
Art © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Photo by Craig Boyko




ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC NO: 130, 1974 - 1975
Acrylic on Canvas
Dimensions: 243.8 x 304.1 cm
Art © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY
Courtesy: Private collection




BRUSHY ELEGY 1979




FOREVER BLACK 1983
Original Lithograph Printed in Three Colors (Black, Yellow - Ochre, Red)
on White Hand-Made Paper Bearing the Tyler Graphics ltd. Watermark.
Dimensions: 38.1 × 95.9 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




GAULOISES WITH SCARLET NO: 1 - 1972
Acrylic and Pasted Papers on Upson Board
Dimensions: 50.8 × 40.6 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA




IN BLACK & WHITE NO: 2 ( AFRICA ) - 1975
Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas
Dimensions: 183.3 x 408.9 cm
Credit Line: Given anonymously
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




LYRIC SUIT 1965
Synthetic Polymer Paint on Canvas
Dimensions: 183.3 x 408.9 cm
Credit Line: Given anonymously
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




MURAL STUDY 1974
Acrylic on Canvas Mounted on Panel
Dimensions: 15.5 × 30.5 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




IBERIA NO: 2 - 1958
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 119.7 x 203.8 cm
Collection: Tate. Acquired by Purchase and Gift From
The Dedalus Foundation 1996




CATALONIA 1980
Acrylic on Canvas Board
Dimensions: 45.7 × 61 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




CYCLOPS CAVE 1986
Acrylic and Pasted Papers on Canvas Mounted on Masonite
Dimensions: 91.4 x 91.4 cm
Collection: Collection of Mr. and Mrs. L. Frankfort




DOCUMENT OF 20TH CENTURYS ART
Spring 1971
The first two volumes of the Documents of 20th-Century Art are published by Viking Press: Dialogues with Marcel Duchamp by Pierre Cabanne, with an introduction by Motherwell, and My Galleries and Painters by Daniel-Henry-Kahnweiler.
A la Pintura goes to press at ULAE. On seeing the finished product, Motherwell feels that something is missing and returns to work on several new images.
In late April, the documentary filmmaker Michael Blackwood begins filming Robert MotherwellSummer of 1971 in Greenwich. Filming continues in Greenwich and Provincetown through the summer.

http://dedalusfoundation.org/motherwell/chronology/detail?field_chronology_period_tid=31




NO. III - 1953
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 137.1 x 184.5 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc. /VAGA, NY/DACS, London 2013
Courtesy Onnasch Collection










COLLAGE WITH ULTRAMARINE BLUE - 1972
Oil on Cut-and-Pasted Paper
Dimensions: 73.3 x 58.1 cm
Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marion Joseph Lebworth




AUTOMATISM ELEGY ( STATE II BUFF ) -  (1979-80)
Lithograph with Embossing
Dimensions: Plate: 12.1 x 25.4 cm -  Sheet: 40 x 50.8 cm
Credit Line: Gift of James Wilder Green




UNTITLED FROM THE SERIES LYRIC SUITE - 1965
Colored Ink on Japanese Paper
Dimensions: 28.2 x 23 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Artist in Memory of Frank O'Hara




BLACK WITH NO WAY OUT 1983
Lithograph
Dimensions: 15 x 37.75 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




THREE FIGURES 1989
Lithograph
Dimensions: 141 × 101.6 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




UNTITLED FROM THE MADRID SUITE 1965-66
One From a Portfolio of Ten Lithographs
Dimensions: Composition: 50.3 x 65.4 cm; Sheet: 56.5 x 76.5 cm




AMERICA – LA FRANCE VARIATIONS II - 1984
Lithograph and Printed Paper on Paper
DimensionsImage: 1067 x 650 mm
Collection: Tate




ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC NO: 100, 1962 - 1975
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 213.4 x 609.6 cm)
Collection: Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Purchased with Funds Provided
 by the Art Museum Council and Gift of the Dedalus Foundation




TOBACCO ROTH 1975 ( DETAIL )




TOBACCO ROTH 1975
Lithograph and Screenprint
Dimensions: 101.6 × 76.2 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




TOBACCO ROTH 1975 ( DETAIL )




THE BASQUE SUITE: UNTITLED - 1971
Screenprint
Dimensions: 106.7 × 71.8 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA




THE MEXICAN SKETCHBOOK - 1941
Ink on Paper and Watercolor on Paper
Dimensions: 22.9 x 29.4 cm each
Credit Line: Gift of the Artist
Collection: The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Artist




THE HOLLOW MEN 1983
Acrylic, Charcoal, and Graphite on Canvas
Dimensions: 223.5 x 447 cm
Collection: Art Gallery of Ontario. Anonymous Gift, 2003










AFRICA 3 FROM AFRICA SUITE 1970
Screenprint on Paper
Dimensions: 810 x 598 mm
Collection: Tate




ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC, 108 / 1965-67
Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 208.2 x 351.1 cm
Credit Line: Charles Mergentime Fund



EL GENERAL 1980
Lithograph on Paper
Dimensions: 994 x 698 mm
Collection: Tate





ELEGY TO THE SPANISH REPUBLIC NO: 126, 1972 - 1975
Acrylic on Canvas
Dimensions: 197.5 x 508.6 cm
Collection: University of Iowa Museum of Art. Purchased with the
Aid of Funds From The National Endowment for the Arts with
Matching Funds and Partial Gift of the Artist, 1973.289




LA CUISINIERE 1967
pasted paper and crayon on paperboard
Dimensions: 101 × 68.6 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA




ELEGY BLACK BLACK 1983
Planographic Lithograph Printed in Black and White From
Three Aluminium Plates Impression: Trial Proof I
Dimensions:  38.4 h x 91.2 w cm
Purchased with the assistance of the Orde Poynton Fund, 2002
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA. Licensed by Viscopy




UNTITLED FROM THE SERIES LYRIC SUITE - 1965
Colored Ink on Japanese Paper
Dimensions: 28.2 x 23.1 cm
Credit Line: Gift of the Artist in Memory of Frank O'Hara




UNTITLED ( P77-3122 ) - 1977
Black Ink on Monotype Ground
Dimensions: 76.2 × 56.9 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




LYRIC SUITE 1965 
Ink on Rice Paper
Dimensions: 27.9 × 22.9 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




AUTOMATISM A - 1966
Lithograph
Dimensions: 71.1 × 45.7 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.




THREE PERSONAGES SHOT ( 6 JUNE ) - 1944
Ink on Paper
Dimensions: 28.9 × 36.8 cm
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc./VAGA.


















ROBERT MOTHERWELL
AMERICAN / 1915 - 1991
To the Palette for A La Pintura (1969)
Source: Oxford University Press
American painter, printmaker and editor. A major figure of the Abstract Expressionist generation
, in his mature work he encompassed both the expressive brushwork of action painting and the breadth of scale and saturated hues of colour field painting, often with a marked emphasis on European traditions of decorative abstraction.
Motherwell was sent to school in the dry climate of central California to combat severe asthmatic attacks and developed a love for the broad spaces and bright colours that later emerged as essential characteristics of his abstract paintings. His later concern with themes of mortality can likewise be traced to his frail health as a child. From 1932 he studied literature, psychology and philosophy at Stanford University, CA, and encountered in the poetry of the French Symbolists an expression of moods that dispensed with traditional narrative. He paid tribute to these writers in later paintings such as Mallarmé’s Swan (1944; Cleveland, OH, Mus. A.) and The Voyage (1949; New York, MOMA), named after Baudelaire’s poem. As a postgraduate student of philosophy at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1937–8, he found further justification for abstraction in writings by John Dewey, Alfred North Whitehead and David Prall, later relating their views on the expression of individual identity through immediate experiences to his own urge to reveal his personality through the gestures of his brushwork (see 
Action Painting).
Motherwell decided to become an artist after seeing modern French painting during a trip to Paris in 1938–9, but in order to satisfy his father’s demands for a secure career he first studied art history from 1940 to 1941 under Meyer Schapiro at Columbia University, NY. Through Schapiro he met Roberto Matta and other exiled European artists associated with Surrealism; their use of 
automatism as a means of registering subconscious impulses was to have a lasting effect on Motherwell and on other American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner and William Baziotes, whom he befriended in New York after a trip to Mexico in 1941 with Matta.
While in Mexico, Motherwell executed his first known works, the Mexican Sketchbook of 11 pen-and-ink drawings in black and white (artist’s col.; for first page, see Arnason, 1982, p. 29). These were influenced by Matta but were more abstract and spontaneous in appearance. The appeal of automatist spontaneity, however, was complemented for him by the clear structure, simple shapes and broad areas of flat colour in paintings by Piet Mondrian, Picasso and Matisse.
The interaction of emotionally charged brushwork with severity of structure began to emerge in paintings such as the Little Spanish Prison (1941–4; New York, MOMA), a deceptively simple composition of slightly undulating vertical stripes in yellow and white interrupted by a single horizontal bar.
In 1943 Motherwell produced a series of dark, menacing works of torn and paint-stained paper in response to the wartime atmosphere. Surprise and Inspiration (Venice, Guggenheim), originally called Wounded Personage, equated the act of tearing with killing and the paint-soaked paper with bandages. These collages, which heralded his lifelong commitment to the medium, were presented as the focal point of his first one-man exhibition held in 1944 at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery, New York.
During the 1940s, like many of his colleagues in the New York School, Motherwell remained devoted to recognizable imagery, to the expressive potential of calligraphic marks and to subject-matter of a literary and of a political nature, as in Pancho Villa, Dead and Alive (gouache and oil with collage on cardboard, 1943; New York, MOMA). The abstract paintings for which he is best known, such as Elegy to the Spanish Republic XXXIV (1953–4; Buffalo, NY, Albright–Knox A.G.), one of a series of more than 140 large canvases initiated in 1949, expressed a nostalgia that he shared with many of his generation for the lost cause of the Spanish Civil War. The works in this series typically consist of black, organic ovals squeezed by stiff, vertical bars against a white ground, retaining the unpremeditated quality of an ink sketch even when enlarged to enormous dimensions, as in the much later Reconciliation Elegy . He conceived of the shapes as elements within an almost musical rhythm, rich in associations with archetypal imagery of figures or body parts but sufficiently generalized to convey a mood rather than a specific representation.





During the late 1940s and 1950s Motherwell spent much of his time lecturing and teaching; he taught at Black Mountain College, NC, in 1950, and from 1951 to 1959 at Hunter College, New York. He also worked on three influential editorial projects: the Documents of Modern Art series, which he initiated in 1944 and which included his most important literary contribution to the history of modern art, The Dada Painters and Poets: An Anthology (New York, 1951); Possibilities magazine, from 1947; and Modern Artists in America (New York, 1951), which he co-authored with Ad Reinhardt.
By the time that he returned fully to his art in the late 1950s, Motherwell had developed various different series. The Elegies, severe in their concentration on black and white and in their ever-growing scale, were the vehicle of his most profound emotions, while the small oil paintings occasioned by the decay of his second marriage, the Je t’aime series of 1954–8 (e.g. Je t’aime IIA, 1955; New York, Grossman priv. col., see Sandler, 1970, p. 246), expressed more intimate and private feelings. His collages, which he began to reproduce also by lithographic means in the 1960s, began to incorporate material from his studio life, such as cigarette packets and labels from artists’ supplies, so as to become records of his daily experiences (e.g. Summer Lights Series published by Gemini GEL in 1973; see Arnason, 1982, pp. 203–6). The coastline near the artists’ colony of Provincetown, MA, where Motherwell began to spend his summers in 1962, inspired works such as Beside the Sea No. 5 (1962; artist’s col., see Sandler, 1970, p. 209), a series of 64 pictures in which he splashed oil paint against rag paper with the full force of his arm as a physical equivalent for the action of sea spray on the bulkhead in front of his studio.
From 1968 to 1972 Motherwell worked on a series of paintings with the generic title Open as a personal response to the colour field painting made by younger abstract painters in the 1960s. Typical of this more contemplative strain of his art is Open No. 17: In Ultramarine with Charcoal Line (polymer paint and charcoal on canvas, 1968; artist’s col., see H. Geldzahler: New York Painting and Sculpture: 1940–1970, New York, 1969, p. 236), which consists of a surface of a single colour on to which he has drawn three sides of a rectangle in charcoal lines: an abstract equivalent to the views through open windows favoured by European painters such as Matisse as metaphors for the relationship between the interior world of the emotions and the external world of the senses.
Motherwell’s first important print, the lithograph Poet I (London, Tate), was published by Tatyana Grossman’s Universal Art Editions in 1961. He subsequently produced an important body of printed work, notably A la pintura (1972; London, BM), a limited edition book of 24 unbound pages printed in letterpress, 
etching and colour aquatint, in which he exploited the medium’s capacity for combinations of rich colour and exacting line to approximate the sensuous effects of his paintings. One of Motherwell’s most significant, late series of paintings and drawings was the Hollow Men. While the title of these works is taken from T. S. Eliot’s poem of despair for Cassius in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Motherwell’s paintings evoke a different spirit: the artist’s desire to slice through superficiality and reveal the essence of his art. As such, the Hollow Men incorporates both the style of the Elegies and that of the Opens. The organic forms of the Elegies are now translucent rather than solid, and consequently more exposed; they are set against a threatening black ground. In these shapes, Motherwell has also revealed more of his automatic drawing, which he believed was the essence of his artistic personality, than in any large-scale works since the 1950s. The Hollow Men stands as one of Motherwell’s final attempts to assert the authenticity of his Abstract Expressionist art.
Robert Saltonstall Mattison
From Grove Art Online 
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