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Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting

Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting

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An intensely intellectual painter, Robert Motherwell is renowned for his distinctive Abstract Expressionist style. The seminal artist permeated his gestural works with an expressionism and austerity reflective of the human psyche; at the same time his oeuvre addressed political and humanitarian themes. Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting is an in-depth exploration of his artistic practice. Leading art scholars examine the American artist’s turn from Surrealism to abstraction and analyze the major series that developed over his fifty-year career. The catalogue studies the dialogue between Motherwell’s art and the nineteenth-century French painting tradition, investigates his relationship to Spanish techniques and processes, with an emphasis on their underlying political significance, and delves into Motherwell’s use of ochre pigment, with its evocation of both deep geological time and avant-garde practices.

In 1940s New York City ROBERT MOTHERWELL (*1915, Aberdeen, WA–1991, Provincetown, MA) entered a milieu of artists whose radical new style of painting came to be known as Abstract Expressionism. A theorist of this informal group – including artists such as Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollock, and Willem de Kooning – he taught throughout his life.

Introduction: Susan Davidson
Texts by: Jennifer Cohen, Jack Flam, Simon Kelly, Monica McTighe
2023, 208 Pages, 100 Ills.


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