Motherwell, Robert


Motherwell, Robert

biographical name

/

Motherwell, photograph by Arnold Newman, 1959—© Arnold Newman

(born Jan. 24, 1915, Aberdeen, Wash., U.S.—died July 16, 1991, Provincetown, Mass.) U.S. painter, writer, and teacher. He received an art scholarship at 11, but he earned degrees from Stanford and Harvard before deciding to become a serious painter. He espoused Abstract Expressionism from the beginning of his career, and his erudite writings were largely responsible for the intellectual tone of the movement. In his Elegy to the Spanish Republic painting series, begun in 1949 and continued over three decades, he developed a limited repertory of simple, serene black forms that were applied to the picture plane in a way that created a sense of slow, solemn movement. Though he worked in various styles, his reputation rests on his pioneering work as a founder and principal exponent of Abstract Expressionism.

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