American artist Robert Motherwell was the youngest of the infamous New York Abstract Expressionist movement, which included Jackson Pollock, Ad Reinhardt and Barnett Newman. Although younger, the maturity expressed within his paintings, lithographs, collages and limited edition prints set the intellectual tone for the Abstract Expressionist movement and made him one of the most influential artists of the 1940s.
The inspiration for Robert Motherwell’s artwork came from his background in literature and history – and also his personal life. Having studied philosophy, Motherwell then moved to New York to study art history at Columbia University. This period was highly influential for Motherwell, as he was encouraged to become a painter by the famous art scholar and critic Meyer Schapiro.
Motherwell was deeply influenced by Surrealism. He developed an abstract style saturated in colour with bold, expressive brushwork. Although becoming more abstract as his career progressed (see his Open Series), Motherwell’s paintings remained surrealist, containing large amorphous shapes suggestive of surrealist figuration. Motherwell’s series, Elegy to the Spanish Republic, is regarded as one of the most iconic artworks of the Abstract Expressionist movement and has become one of the many Motherwell artworks sought-after by the worlds most high profile art collectors.