Robert
Motherwell

Recognised for his distinctive philosophy-driven abstractions, Robert Motherwell emerged as a prominent figure in the post-war art scene. If you’re looking for Robert Motherwell original prints and editions for sale or would like to sell, request a complimentary valuation and browse our network’s most in-demand works.

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Biography

Born in 1915 in Washington, Robert Motherwell embarked on his artistic journey at Stanford and Harvard, initially pursuing a career in philosophy–a subject that later influenced his artistic ethos. His early exposure to Surrealism in Paris and subsequent return to the U.S. in the 1940s marked the beginning of his lifelong commitment to Abstract Expressionism. A prolific artist and articulate theorist, Motherwell's works like The Homely Protestant became celebrated for their expressive forms and emotive power. His career was filled with significant milestones, including his role in founding the influential Documents of Modern Art series and his contribution to the New York School of painters. His art, characterised by deep introspection and a unique blend of intellectual rigour and emotional intensity, made him a crucial figure in the post-war art scene.

Motherwell's philosophical background is evident in the thoughtful composition and thematic depth of his works. He saw painting as a medium for exploring existential and emotional truths, a perspective that set his work apart in the realm of Abstract Expressionism.

Throughout his career, his explorations were as intellectual as they were visual. His works are distinguished by their emotive force, often large in scale, featuring bold colours and dynamic forms. Motherwell's commitment to Abstract Expressionism wasn’t solely stylistic but deeply philosophical, reflecting his belief in art's ability to express the human condition. His series Elegy to the Spanish Republic series, made up of over 100 paintings, reveals his capacity for thematic depth and variation within a singular motif.

Exhibited widely, his works graced the halls of prestigious institutions like the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim. Beyond painting, Motherwell was an accomplished printmaker and editor, significantly contributing to the intellectual discourse of art through his writings and lectures. His influence extended into academia, teaching at institutions like Hunter College, shaping a generation of artists. Motherwell's legacy exists not only in his compositions but in his impact on the conceptual understanding of modern art, bridging the emotional intensity of Abstract Expressionism with philosophical and poetic undertones.