Robert Motherwell Art

Robert Motherwell (USA, 1915–91)

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.

No. 4 from Three Poems, Framed Lithograph by Robert Motherwell
No. 4 from Three Poems, Framed Lithograph by Ro...
Robert Motherwell
1980s Modern Abstract Prints
Rice Paper, Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell, American (1915 - 1991) Title: No. 4 from Three Poems, collaboration with Octavio Paz Year: 1987 Medium: Lithograph on Japon with Chine Colle Edition: 750 I...
The Basque Suite: Untitled
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen
Part of The Basque Suite series. Abstract print with shades of blue, black and white. Signed in lower right along with edition number "130/150".
Put out all Flags
Put out all Flags
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Aquatint, lift-ground etching and aquatint on German Etching paper 53.3 x 73.7 cms (21 x 29 ins) Edition of 50
Untitled
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Aquatint, Color, Etching
29.88 x 22.36 ins (75.9 x 56.8 cms) Edition of 96 Signature:Signed "R. Motherwell" in pencil lower right Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower right; artist's chop mark lower ri...
Untitled
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Edition of 69 65.4 x 50.2 cms (25.75 x 19.75 ins)
Game of Chance
Game of Chance
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Mixed Media, Color, Aquatint, Lithograph
88.3 x 69.9 cms (34.7 x 27.51 ins) Edition of 100
Black with No Way Out
Black with No Way Out
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Lithograph
15 x 38 ins (38.1 x 96.5 cms) Edition of 98 Signature:Signed "Motherwell" in pencil lower right Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower right; workshop chop mark lower right; work...
Red Sea III
Red Sea III
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Aquatint and lift-ground etching on Georges Duchêne Hawthorne of Larroque handmade paper, Edition of 70 1983 90.2 x 46.4 cms (35 1/2 x 18 1/4 ins)
Lament for Lorca
Lament for Lorca
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Lithograph
Lithograph on white Tyler Graphics Ltd. (TGL) handmade paper 44x61 in (111.8x154.9cm) Edition of 52
Untitled
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Edition of 24 73.7 x 64.8 cms (29 x 25 1/2 ins)
America - La France Variations III
America - La France Variations III
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Color lithograph and collage on black Arches Cover, Edition of 70 122 x 78.1 cms (48 x 30 3/4 ins)
The Berggruen Series: Untitled
The Berggruen Series: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Edition of 100 40 x 42.2 cms (15 3/4 x 16 5/8 ins)
Black With No Way Out
Robert Motherwell
Late 20th Century Contemporary Prints and Multiples
Lithograph
In 1937, Motherwell heard the novelist and art theorist André Malraux speak at a rally concerning the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), provoking his interest in a moral issue that woul...
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
Late 20th Century Prints and Multiples
Lithograph
In 1987,  Robert Motherwell included within an oversize book several original lithographs created to accompany three poems by Octavio Paz.   On the cover of this tome, limited to an ...
Robert Motherwell, Untitled from Ten Works + Te...
Robert Motherwell
1960s Prints and Multiples
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...
Robert Motherwell, Red Sea III, 1983, (50/70), ...
Robert Motherwell
1980s Prints and Multiples
Etching, Aquatint
Robert Motherwell Red Sea III, 1983, (50/70) aquatint and etching 28.50 x 11.75 in Aquatint and etching printed in red and black, 1983, signed in pencil and numbered 50/70 (total edi...
Mirror
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
This black and white lithograph is by Robert Motherwell, considered one of the great American Abstract Expressionist painters. His was an intellectual artist who created not only pow...
St. Michael III
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell Title: St. Michael III Medium: Lithograph and screenprint in colors Signed lower right RM, Numbered 46/99 Edition of 90 with 20 Artist's proofs Dimensions: ...
Abstract Composition - Original color Etching a...
Robert Motherwell
1960s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Robert MOTHERWELL Abstract Composition Original etching and aquatint Unsigned On Johannot vellum 37.5 x 28 cm (c. 15 x 11 inch) Published by Lazar Vernet in 1967 and limited to 200 ...
Untitled (Phoenician Red) (M76-9)
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Handmade Paper, Etching, Monotype
An original signed monotype in etching inks on handmade Hayle Mill paper by American artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) titled "Untitled (Phoenician Red) (M76-9)", 1976. Hand penci...
Lines for St. Gallen
Robert Motherwell
Late 20th Century Contemporary Prints and Multiples
Lithograph
An original color lithograph created by Robert Motherwell in 1971, Lines for St. Gallen measures 27 x 22 in. (70 x 56 cm.), unframed, is hand-signed and numbered in pencil, and from ...
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
Late 20th Century Contemporary Prints and Multiples
Etching, Aquatint
An extraordinary etching by Robert Motherwell, Untitled, 1973 is an equisite study in simple line and color with a profoud result. This original print is hand0signed by the artist i...
London Series II: Untitled (Orange/Pink)
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Prints
Screen
Robert Motherwell, London Series II: Untitled (Orange/Pink), 1971 Born in 1915, Robert Motherwell studied art and philosophy in several schools before he attended Columbia Univers...
Summer Sign
Robert Motherwell
1990s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color
Carborundum on Whatman paper Edition of 38 84.1 x 78.7 cms (33 1/8 x 31 ins)
Greenwich Arts Council
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
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...
America - La France Variations IX
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Lithograph and collage Edition of 60 72.4 x 55.3 cms (28 1/2 x 21 3/4 ins)
Octavio Paz Suite: Return
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Edition of 50 71.8 x 49.2 cms (28 1/4 x 19 2/5 ins)
Robert Motherwell, America - La France Variatio...
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Prints and Multiples
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...
Beau Geste VI
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell Title: Beau Geste VI Series: Beau Geste pour Lucrece Medium: Lithograph printed on Duchene Moutarde at Trestle Editions Signed lower right RM, Numbered lowe...
Beau Geste IV
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell Title: Beau Geste IV Series: Beau Geste pour Lucrece Medium: Lithograph printed on Grey Duchêne at Trestle Editions Signed upper right RM, Numbered lower ri...
Beau Geste I
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell Title: Beau Geste I Series: Beau Geste pour Lucrece Medium: Lithograph printed on Duchene Moutarde at Trestle Editions Signed upper right RM, Numbered lower...
Beau Geste V
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Artist: Robert Motherwell Title: Beau Geste V Series: Beau Geste pour Lucrece Medium: Lithograph printed on Duchene Moutarde at Trestle Editions Signed RM upper right, Numbered lower...
Robert Motherwell "St. Michael II"
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph, Screen
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, made up a quartet of American abstract painters that radically defined Modern painting a...
Mexican Night II
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Etching, Aquatint
44.5 x 44.5 cms (17.5 x 17.5 ins) Edition of 70 Signature:Signed "Motherwell" in pencil lower right Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower right; artist's chop mark lower right ...
Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Aquatint
41.5 x 29.5 ins (105.4 x 74.9 cms) Edition of 50 Signature:Signed "Motherwell" in pencil lower right Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower right; artist's chop mark lower right ...
On the Wing
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Mixed Media, Color, Lithograph
46.75 x 30.5 ins (118.7 x 77.5 cms) Edition of 70 Signed in pencil lower right. Numbered in pencil lower right; workshop chop mark lower right; workshop number "RM83-718" in pe...
Perpetual Summer
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Etching, Aquatint
60 x 42.9 cms ( 23.62 x 16.89 ins) Edition of 26 Signature:Signed "Motherwell" in pencil lower right Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower right; artist's chop mark lower right ...
Automatism Elegy (State II Buff)
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Lithograph
15.9 x 20 ins (40.3 x 50.8 cms) Edition of 50 Signature:Signed "RM" in pencil lower left Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower left; artist's chop mark lower right Publisher:Ar...
Dedication–Lincoln Center (B.App.23)
Robert Motherwell
1960s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Mixed Media, Screen
44.5 x 29.25 ins (113 x 74.3 cms) Edition of 108 Signature:Signed "R. Motherwell" in pencil lower left Inscriptions:Numbered in pencil lower left; some impressions have artist's...
Dance I
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Aquatint, Color, Etching
19.5 x 30.5 ins (49.5 x 77.5 cms) Edition of 30
Monster
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Lithograph on speckled gray HMP handmade paper 104.1 x 78.7 cms (41 x 31 ins) Edition of 26
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Screen
Colour screenprint on J.B. Green paper 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins) Edition of 150
Paroles peintes III: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1960s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Etching
Open-bite etching printed in dark, brownish black on fibrous Japan paper 38 x 28 cms (14 7/8 x 11 1/8 ins) Edition of 200 in three numbered segments
Mediterranean Light
Robert Motherwell
1990s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Color, Lithograph
Lithograph on white Tyler Graphics Ltd. (TGL) handmade paper 32 1/2 x 76 in. (82.6 x 193 cm) Edition of 40
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen
Colour screenprint on J.B. Green paper 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins) Edition of 150
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen
Screenprint on J.B. Green paper 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins) Edition of 150
The Red Queen
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Aquatint, lift-ground etching and aquatint and collage Edition of 40 78.7 x 63.5 cms (31 x 25 ins)
Elegy Fragment II
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Aquatint, lift-ground etching and aquatint on Georges Duchene Hawthorne of Larroque handmade paper 87.6 x 61 cm (34 1/2 x 24 inches) Edition of 52
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen
Colour screenprint printed in blue and black on J.B. Green paper 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins) Edition of 150
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Screen
Colour screenprint printed in black and orange on J.B. Green paper 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins) Edition of 150
Robert Motherwell "Summer Light Series"
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Lithograph
While Motherwell is known as one of the most important and influential artists associated with Abstract Expressionism, he is also revered for his work and promotion of printmaking. ...
Black for Mozart
Robert Motherwell
1990s Post-Modern Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Original lithograph with collage printed in 14 colors in 11 steps from 8 aluminum plates on White Tyler Graphics Ltd. hand-made paper (made by Tom Strianese, Jed Marshall, Brian Maxw...
Frontispiece from" A la Pintura"
Robert Motherwell
1970s Post-War Figurative Prints
Etching
A print by Robert Motherwell. "Frontispiece from 'A la Pintura'" is an aquatint etching executed in blue and brown and depicts the writing A la Pintura below a small blue rectangle b...
Bastos
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Lithograph
Edition of 49 158.4 x 101.6 cms (62.4 x 40 ins)
Gesture IV
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Lift-ground etching with aquatint in colors on JB Green paper 88.9 x 66.6 cms (35 x 26 1/4 ins) Edition of 100
The Basque Suite: Untitled
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Screen
Edition of 150 104.1 x 71.7 cms (41 x 28 1/4 ins)
Gesture III
Robert Motherwell
1970s Abstract Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Brushed aquatint, lift-ground etching and aquatint on J.B. Green paper 88.9 x 66.7 cms (35 x 26.3 ins) Edition of 75
Stephen's Iron Crown Etched
Robert Motherwell
1980s Abstract Expressionist Abstract Prints
Etching, Aquatint
Edition of 66 64.1 x 71.8 cms (25.25 x 28.25 ins)
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