Robert Motherwell, ‘Untitled (Elegy)’, 1960, Bernard Jacobson Gallery

Another piece engendered by an act of automatism. Again, Motherwell creates in order to express reality as felt, and to allow abstraction to be found within the work. Automatism was a term appropriated by members of the Surrealist movement applied to techniques of spontaneous writing, drawing and painting. The bold black shape against the white field of colour is dramatic and expressive, a trademark of Motherwell. For Motherwell art was not primarily symbolic. For him the task of art lay not in its ability to manipulate symbols, nor was it aesthetic in the sense that this is normally understood. Instead, art was meant to get at ‘the infinite background of feeling in order to condense it into an object of perception’.

Signature: Signed with initials and dated 'RM60' (upper right) (recto).

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Days Lumberyard Studios: Provincetown, 1914-1971, 1987 (illustrated, p. 19).
Locks Gallery, Philadelphia, Robert Motherwell: Paintings and Collages, 1992 (illustrated, p. 23).
Dominique Levy Gallery, New York, Robert Motherwell: Elegy to the Spanish Republic, 4 November 2015 - 9 January 2016
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, Robert Motherwell: Abstract Expressionism, 16 September - 26 November 2016

"Days' Retrospective Show Opens: Chronicling 55 Years of Provincetown Art History" in Advocate Summer Guide, 31 August 1978 (illustrated, pp. 31 and 21).

Solomon & Co., New York (acquired directly from the artist).
Bernard Jacobson Gallery, London, 2012

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