Robert Motherwell, MUSIC FOR J.S. BACH (CR 471), 1989. Courtesy of Greg Kucera Gallery.

Robert Motherwell: Music

“Painting is a medium in which the mind can actualize itself; it is a medium of thought. Thus painting, like music, tends to become its own content,” the Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell once said. The acclaimed member of the New York School was an ardent lover of music, influenced throughout his career by classical composers like Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach—all of whom have been subjects of Motherwell’s collages, which often incorporate their sheet music. Motherwell’s monumental Lyric Suite (1965) is among the artist’s most well-known odes to music. Named after Alban Berg’s musical composition for a string quartet, the 600 ink paintings in the series reference the graceful waviness of Japanese calligraphy, as well as the fluidity of Berg’s music.

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