Robert Motherwell, ‘Open No. 97: The Spanish House’, 1969, Dedalus Foundation

This painting is an excellent example of how the brushwork of many of the Opens operates. The
oranges are painted over a ground of pale blue, which gives them a wonderful expansiveness and an
extraordinary luminosity, a kind of metaphysical incandescence that at once reinforces and engulfs the
relatively representational quality of the charcoal lines. This is one of the most overtly representational
pictures among the early Opens, based on a house in a photograph of Cadaqués, a city where Picasso
had painted and where Federico García Lorca and had vacationed with Salavador Dali in 1925.

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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