1 of 2 images

Robert Motherwell
Beau Geste VI

1989

About

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. These painters renounced the prevalent American style, believing its realism depicted only the surface of American life. Their interest was in exploring the deeper sense of reality beyond the recognizable image. Influenced by the Surrealists, many of whom had emigrated from Europe to New York, the Abstract Expressionists sought to create essential images that revealed emotional truth and authenticity of feeling. Robert Motherwell was the youngest and most prolific of the group. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, in 1915, Motherwell first hoped to be a philosopher. His studies at Stanford and Harvard brought him into contact with the great American philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who first challenged him with the notion of abstraction. What he took from Whitehead was the sense that abstraction was the process of peeling away the inessential and presenting the necessary. After moving to New York and becoming acquainted with a number of artists, Motherwell recognized in them similar desires. Forming a community and living on what little they had, the Abstract Expressionists made daring experiments in painting and in the intellectual investigations surrounding it. Their break with the traditional art conventions often provoked the harshest criticism from the establishment. Despite this, these early years were an incredibly productive period for Motherwell - seeing him experiment in a range of media, from painting to collage. 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. His collage also concerned itself with an awareness of the presence of the artist in a work. Using torn paper on minimalist backgrounds, he created work that was at once discordant and lyrical.

Details

  • Gallery location
    Santa Fe, NM
  • Reference number
    LU1281615663

Shipping, Returns & Payment

  • Shipping

    Global Shipping Available

    View details
  • Return Policy

    Returns can be initiated within 3 days of delivery by contacting 1stdibs.

    View details
  • Online Payment Methods
    1stdibs accepts the following payment methods
  • Item Invoice
    Generate an invoice that you can customize and print.

About Robert Motherwell (Artist)

The name of painter, printmaker and writer Robert Motherwell 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 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.

About the Seller

Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2012
Typical response time: 16 hrs
Located in Santa Fe, NM
You may also contact the seller by phoneCall seller through 1stdibs

Why Shop on 1stdibs?

Learn More

Only Vetted, Professional Sellers

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

Fully Insured Global Deliveries

More From This Seller
Price Upon Request

Robert Motherwell, America - La France Variatio...

Robert Motherwell

Color, Lithograph

America - La France Variations VI Robert Motherwell AP, 1983-4 (11/28) Color lithograph and collage on white Arches Cover 46.50 x 32.12 in Frame size 49 x 34.5 x 2 in. Artist's proo...

Price Upon Request

Beau Geste VI

Robert Motherwell

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...

Price Upon Request

Robert Motherwell, Hermitage, 1975, (112/200), ...

Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell Hermitage, 1975, (112/200) color lithograph 40.25 x 28.50 in

Price Upon Request

Robert Motherwell, Untitled from Ten Works + Te...

Robert Motherwell

Screen

Robert Motherwell Untitled from Ten Works + Ten Painters, 1964, (168/500) serigraph and collage 22 x 16 in From the unsigned folio 10 prints + 10 painters published by The Wadsworth...

You May Also Like
$300

Greenwich Arts Council

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

An original lithograph exhibition poster on heavy cream Strathmore paper by American artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1992) titled "Greenwich Arts Council", 1976. From the u...

$300

Art 1981 Chicago

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

An original lithograph exhibition poster on heavy cream Strathmore paper after American artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1992) titled "Chicago International Art Expo", 1981. Tyler Grap...

Price Upon Request

Hommage a Picasso: Window

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

Hommage a Picasso: Window, 1973 lithograph, ed 90, PP2 30 x 22"

$4,500

America - La France Variatios VI

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

Robert Motherwell America - La France Variations VI, 1984 Lithograph and collage 46 x 31 1/2 inches 116.8 x 80 cm Edition of 60 Signed (PKE 19179)

$3,500

Spanish Elegy II

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

Robert Motherwell Spanish Elegy II, 1975 lithograph on brown hmp handmade paper 22 x 32 inches 55.9 x 81.3 cm Edition of 38 signed (PKE 20914)

$3,500

America - La France Variations IX

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

America - La France Variations IX, 1984 lithograph and collage 28 1/2 x 21 3/4 inches 72.4 x 55.2 cm Edition of 60 Signed (PKE 19181)

$3,000

9: Untitled

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

Robert Motherwell 9:Untitled, 1967 lithograph on buff arches cover paper 22 x 17 inches 55.9 x 43.2 cm Edition of 100 + unrecorded APs signed "RM" in pencil lower left (PKE...

$2,500

Norway

Robert Motherwell

Lithograph

Robert Motherwell Norway, 1980 lithograph on Somerset paper 21 5/8 x 22 1/4 inches 54.9 x 56.5 cm Edition VI of 50 + XXAP (PKE 19172.VI)