Robert Motherwell, ‘New York City Collage’, 1959, Dedalus Foundation

The energetic mixtures of cutting, tearing, painting, drawing, and writing in this collage capture the diverse energy of New York City, and the random nature of urban experience is evoked by the disjointed, allover scattering of the collage elements. The city in this collage is inextricably linked to the artistic energy it contains, as evidenced in the placement, near the center, of a paper painter's palette, on which are scrawled the abbreviated details of a visit to Franz Kline's studio: "Kline / Wed 5.30 / 242 W 14."

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

Denver Art Museum Collection. Acquired through the generosity of the Dedalus Foundation and the following donors: Florence R. & Ralph L. Burgess Trust, Laurencin Deaccessions Fund, Vance Kirkland Acquisitions Fund, and the Marion G. Hendrie Fund. Major memorial gifts from Joan E. Anderman, Mr. and Mrs. Hugh R. Catherwood, Mr. and Mrs. John B. Chafee, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Congdon, Mr. and Mrs. Cortlandt S. Dietler, Suzanne Farver, Katherine L. Lawrence, Jan and Frederick Mayer, Caroline Morgan, Linda Ringsby, Mr. and Mrs. Walter S. Rosenberry III, Sally H. Story, and three anonymous donors. Additional funding from the Motherwell Angels: Mark and Polly Addison, Philip and Nancy Anschutz, Nancy Lake-Benson, H. Kirk Brown III, Robin and Steven Chotin, Colorado National Bank, John and Lisa Dorn, William L. and Dr. Margaret B. Dorn, Mr. and Mrs. Lewis W. Douglas Jr., Duncan Oil, Inc., First Interstate Bank of Denver, Charles and Diane Gallagher, Dorothy Strear Goodstein, Diane and Bob Greenlee, Fred and Jane Hamilton, Dr. Charles and Linda Hamlin, Mark and Diana Hayden, Hinckley & Schmitt, Inc., J. Charles Jordy Jr., Key Bank of Colorado, Elizabeth T. Kirkpatrick, Amie Knox and Jim Kelley, Mr. and Mrs. William C. Kurtz, Edward and Margaret Leede, Susan and John W. Madden III, Jan and Frederick mayer, McClain-Finlon Advertising, Inc., Lilly and Paul Merage, Larry and Carol Mizel, Andrea Pollack, Priscilla Press and Joel Ehrlich, Judy and Ken Robins, Barbara and George Schmitt, Tremont Corporation, Vail Valley Arts Council, Ginny Williams, and Robbi and Carl Williams

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