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Robert Motherwell Portrait

Robert Motherwell Portrait Robert Motherwell Portrait

Robert Motherwell

Also Known as: Robert Burns Motherwell III

Born:
Aberdeen, Washington 1915

Died:
Provincetown, Massachusetts 1991

Active in:

  • New York, New York
  • Greenwich, Connecticut

Photo Caption:
Robert Motherwell, 1961, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0005260

Photo Caption:
Robert Motherwell in his Greenwich Village studio with Collage in Beige and Black(left) and Wall Painting with Stripes, ca. 1943, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0004981

Photo Caption:
Robert Motherwell in his studio, ca. 1950, Peter A. Juley & Son Collection, Smithsonian American Art Museum J0004861

Luce Artist Quote

“Most of my work grows on the canvas by itself, so to speak, from a variety of sources, some of whose origins I do not know myself.” Motherwell, interview by Barbaralee Diamonstein, 1977, in Arnason, Robert Motherwell, 1982


Biography

Painter, printer, collage maker and author. A leading Abstract Expressionist, in 1949 he began his most famous series, Elegies to the Spanish Republic, which is comprised of more than 100 oil paintings and numerous sketches and drawings. He was editor of the important book series Documents of Modern Art.

Joan Stahl American Artists in Photographic Portraits from the Peter A. Juley & Son Collection (Washington, D.C. and Mineola, New York: National Museum of American Art and Dover Publications, Inc., 1995)

Additional Biographies

Robert Motherwell was born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1915. He studied philosophy at Stanford University, California, and received his BA in 1937. Later that year he studied painting briefly at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco before undertaking graduate work in philosophy at Harvard University from 1937 to 1938. While spending a year in France studying French literature and painting, Motherwell had his first solo exhibition at the Galerie Duncan. He returned to the United States in 1940; during that decade Motherwell emerged as a leading Abstract Expressionist whose work encompassed painting, printmaking, and collage, in addition to writing. In 1949 Motherwell began his most famous series, "Elegies to the Spanish Republic," which includes more than one hundred oil paintings and numerous sketches and drawings.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)