Robert Motherwell, ‘Untitled’, 1979, 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.’

Signature: Recto, upper left: RM\ 6 May 79 C

Galeria Joan Prats, Basel Art Fair, Switzerland, Robert Motherwell, 12-17 June 1991, cat. no. 4 (sec. "Works on Paper"), color illus. n.p.
Marlborough Gallery, New York, Robert Motherwell: Drawings, 1951-1986, 16 February - 13 March 1999, cat. no. 36.
Robischon Gallery, Denver, Robert Motherwell: Early Drawings, 1963-1976, 13 January - 3 Match 2001, cat. no. 11.
Hillsboro Fine Art, Dublin, International Collectibles, 4 - 27 August 2005.

Paglia, M. "Slights of Hand: Robischon Salutes Three Generations of New York School Artists" (exhibition review). Denver Westword, 15 February 2001, illus. p. 53.
Flam, J., Rogers, K., Clifford, T., 2012. Robert Motherwell Paintings and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonné 1941 – 1991. New Haven: Yale University Press. Volume 3, Page 623, Cat. rais. no. W600.

The Dedalus Foundation, New York
Mira Godard Gallery, Toronto
Hillsboro Fine Art Gallery, Dublin
Private Collection, Ireland

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