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  • Design Credit: Elizabeth Roberts Architec̦ture & Design, Photo Credit: Dustin Aksland. Dimensions: H 47 in. x W 29.25 in.
  • Design Credit: Timothy Godbold, Photo Credit: Karl Simone. Dimensions: H 47 in. x W 29.25 in.
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Robert Motherwell
Harvest With Blue Bottom, from Summer Light Series

1973

$11,475

About

TECHNICAL INFORMATION: Robert Motherwell Harvest With Blue Bottom, from Summer Light Series 1973 Lithograph with collage 36 x 18 in. Edition of 55 Pencil signed and numbered; accompanied with COA by Gregg Shienbaum Fine Art. Condition: This piece is in excellent condition. It has deckled edges and no issues of any kind to the paper. The signature and the number are clearly visible as well as the collage elements . Frame: This piece is framed in a thick aluminum frame as shown in the photos. The frame perfectly shows all the edges and corners of this piece. ABOUT THE WORK: Robert Motherwell’s Summer Light series from 1973 integrates two of his favorite pastimes– drinking and smoking. The title of this image, Harvest with Two White Stripes, derives from the collaged element of the Ernte 23 cigarette label; Ernte being the German translation for harvest. Within the Summer Light series, six images feature the Ernte 23 label and four bear renowned vineyard Château Latour wine labels. While this may feel like a departure from the imposing black elegy forms and gestural works he’s known for, Motherwell very often incorporated collage elements into his work. He used fragments of other prints or a variety labels, but most iconic was his use of cigarette labels. Since the mid-1950s Motherwell was incorporating into his work these materials, which were laying about his studio. Practically, they were immediate and on hand, but invariably they were an autobiographical element, serving as a kind of documentation of his daily life and habits. ABOUT THE ARTIST: In 1940, a young painter named Robert Motherwell came to New York City and joined a group of artists — including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Franz Kline — who set out to change the face of American painting.   Their interest was in exploring the deeper sense of reality beyond the recognizable image. They sought to create essential images that revealed emotional truth and authenticity of feeling. Robert Motherwell is one of the most recognized of the American Abstract Expressionist painters.  In abstract expressionism the "act" of painting becomes the "content" of the painting. Through gestural movements the artist is attempting to unleash their raw emotions, not paint pretty pictures.  Motherwell created his first collages at Jackson Pollock's Studio in Greenwich Village and, along with Pollock and Baziotes was invited to exhibit at the Peggy Guggenheim "Art of This Century" gallery in New York City.  Their break with the traditional art conventions often provoked the harshest criticism from the establishment.  His work often expressed the actions of the artist through dramatic and bright brush strokes. Valued for their energetic imagery, they attempted a pure emotional response made real in paint.  In 1961 Motherwell began making limited edition prints of his work. He was the only one of the original abstract expressionists to enthusiastically embrace printmaking. Motherwell worked with numerous print workshops in the United States and Europe. These collaborations between the Motherwell and the printmakers were a source of great satisfaction to the artist. He synthesized his unique abstract style, and the materials and technical characteristics of printmaking to create over 200 editions over the next 30 years Beyond his individual efforts as an artist, Motherwell played a major role in the intellectual and artistic development of the underground New York art world of the time.  Like the great masters, Motherwell’s importance can be seen in his attempts at expressing something monumental.  With the advent of Pop Art and its concentration on popular culture themes, the art public began to long for the idealism of the Abstract Expressionists. In relation to Andy Warhol’s soup cans, Motherwell's large abstract paintings began to achieve a majesty in the public eye.   Though somewhat alone, Motherwell committed himself to producing highly experimental work of emotional depth for the rest of his life. On July 16, 1991, at the age of 76 he died: the last of the great Abstract Expressionists. From 1949, until the end of his life, Motherwell continued his search for a personal and political voice in abstraction. This search produced a body of work that remains a testament to the human soul and its persistence, and to the genre of abstract painting out of which it came.

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About the Artist

Robert Motherwell

The name of painter, printmaker and writer Robert Motherwell (1915–91) is often taken as synonymous with the New York School, whose name he coined. Motherwell was the youngest of this group of Abstract Expressionists working in art, dance, poetry and music in 1950s and '60s New York City, which included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Philip Guston, Helen Frankenthaler and Mark Rothko.

Born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1915, Motherwell had perhaps the broadest and best education of any of the New York School coterie, with an extensive background in philosophy, literature and art history. He earned a BA in philosophy in 1937 from Stanford University and was working toward a PhD in the subject at Harvard when he interrupted his studies for a yearlong trip to Europe, where he fell in love with European modernism.

After returning, in 1940 he enrolled Columbia to study art history. It was there that he met a group of exiled Parisian Surrealists, and encounter that proved influential on his style. Motherwell began to integrate the idea of “automatism” — unmediated gestures that reflect deeper psychological impulses — into his work, pioneering a new form of Abstract Expressionism that came to characterize the New York School.

Works like the 1967 Beside the Sea no. 45, an acrylic on canvas, and the 1966 lithograph New York International epitomize Motherwell’s use of simple shapes in boldly contrasting colors, executed in quick, gestural strokes that occasionally evoke figures, suggesting a latent narrative despite their obvious abstraction.

Throughout his career, Motherwell taught painting at Hunter College, in New York, and at Black Mountain College, in North Carolina, where his work influenced the likes of Cy Twombly, Robert Rauschenberg and Kenneth Noland. His influence as one of the founding fathers of American Abstract Expressionism remains profound.

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