Robert Motherwell, ‘Tobacco Roth-Handle ’, 1975, Bernard Jacobson Gallery

Throughout his career Mothewell was drawn to automatism. Automatism was a term appropriated by members of the Surrealist movement applied to techniques of spontaneous writing, drawing and painting. However, unlike the Surrealists who believed art should be free of any conscious control, Motherwell sought to create a balance between automatism and formal beauty. Splashing, dropping, pouring, smudging, and doodling were all automatic elements of his technique and allowed him to find meaning within what emerged through color and paint. ‘The function of art, he wrote, is to express reality as felt. In saying this we must remember that ideas modify feelings… by feeling is meant the response of the “body-and mind” as a whole to the events of reality.’

Published by Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York
Printed by Robert Bigelow and Kenneth Tyler, Tyler Graphics Ltd.

Signature: Signed "Motherwell" in pencil lower right. Numbered in pencil lower right; workshop chop mark lower right; artist's chop mark lower right; workshop number "RM75-145" in pencil reverse lower left.

Publisher: Tyler Graphics Ltd., Bedford Village, New York

Siri Engberg and Joan Banach 'Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940-1991. Catalogue Raisonne', Walker Art Center and Hudson Hills Press, New York, 2003 (illustrated pl. 171) ISBN: 1-55595-163-5

Dedalus Foundation.

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