Robert Motherwell, ‘Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 70’, 1961, Dedalus Foundation

This one of Motherwell’s largest and most magisterial Elegy paintings. Unlike most of the other large Elegies, it was done during a single painting campaign in Provincetown, its spontaneity inspired by
a small painting on paper, The Figure 4 on an Elegy, which served as a model for the expressively
spattered paint on the left side of the large canvas. In subsequent years, Motherwell used motifs from
this inventive composition as points of departure for other large paintings, most notably Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 78 (1962) and The Spanish Death (1975).

Additional information provided by the Dedalus Foundation

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Anonymous gift, 1965 (65.247)

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