Robert Motherwell, ‘Je t'aime No. IV’, 1955 -1957, Dedalus Foundation

This is by far the largest of the paintings with the words “Je t’aime” (I love you) in their titles. The way the declarations of that love are written across these paintings varies from what Motherwell characterized as “tenderly” to a “shriek.” He later described them as expressions of longing, as cries from the heart, the desperate declarations of his desire to love. This picture, which is the most boldly
colored of the series, bears a strong resemblance to a still life with a figure standing next to it.

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Image rights: © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA. New York, NY

Pinakothek der Moderne. Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammulungen, inv. nr. 14836

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