Robert Motherwell, ‘At Five in the Afternoon’, 1950, de Young Museum

Robert Motherwell (American, 1915-1991), “At Five in the Afternoon,” 1950. Oil on hardboard. 36 ¾ x 48 ½ in. Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, bequest of Josephine Morris. Art © Dedalus Foundation Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Publisher: New York: The Limited Editions Club

About Robert Motherwell

Alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, Robert Motherwell is considered one of the great American Abstract Expressionist painters. His esteemed intellect not only undergirded his gorgeous, expressive paintings—frequently featuring bold black shapes against fields of color—but also made Motherwell one of the leading writers, theorists, and advocates of the New York School. He forged close friendships with the European Surrealists and other intellectuals over his interests in poetry and philosophy, and as such served as a vital link between the pre-war avant-garde in Europe and its post-war counterpart in New York, establishing automatism and psychoanalysis as central concerns of American abstraction. "It's not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous," Motherwell said. "It's more like you blurt something out and then analyze it.

American, 1915-1991, Aberdeen, Washington, based in New York and Greenwich, Connecticut