Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell


Robert Motherwell was born January 4, 1915, in Aberdeen, Washington. He began his career as an associate professor at Hunter College, New York. Motherwell took up painting seriously in 1941 after studying aesthetics at Stanford and Harvard Universities. He became one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism which developed in New York in the 1940's.

Motherwell's paintings are simple, bold and often symbolic. His art was inspired by history, literature and personal life. Many of his paintings were reflections of his reaction to the Spanish Civil War. He projects his own personal philosophy and political opinions about the war in his series, Elegy to the Spanish Republic. He expresses his emotions and thoughts exclusively through the abstract form although he was also influenced by Surrealism, particularly Automatism.

In 1958 Motherwell married Helen Frankenthaler, a fellow artist. In the 1960's he practiced a new technique ""Colour Field"" painting where the canvas is stained with a thin wash and darker forms are painted on top.

In addition to his art, Motherwell worked as a writer, teacher and lecturer and in 1944 became director of The Documents of Modern Art, a series about the artists and critics of the 20th Century.

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