|  Share | Cite

Robert Motherwell

Motherwell, Robert, 1915–91, American painter and writer, b. Aberdeen, Wash. Motherwell taught art at several colleges and during the early 1940s he became a cogent theoretician of abstract expressionism. His canvases are characterized by large, amorphous shapes, painted in strong, austere colors. His most famous body of work is a series of over 100 paintings entitled Elegy for the Spanish Republic (1948–90). He also created numerous masterful collages and more than 500 editions of prints. He was married for several years to the painter Helen Frankenthaler. Motherwell edited Documents of Modern Art (15 vol., 1944–61), Modern Artists in America (1952), The Dada Painters and Poets (1951), and Documents of 20th-Century Art (1971–80). His keen critical powers and abundant intellectual gifts are evident in his many essays, brought together in The Collected Writings of Robert Motherwell (1993).

See S. Engberg, Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940–1991 (2004) and J. Flam et al., Robert Motherwell, Paintings and Collages: A Catalogue Raisonné (2012); biographies by H. H. Arnason and S. P. Breckinridge (1982), D. Ashton and J. Flam (1983), and R. S. Mattison (1989).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on Robert Motherwell from Infoplease:

  • Motherwell: meaning and definitions - Motherwell: Definition and Pronunciation
  • Washington - Information on Washington — economy, government, culture, state map and flag, major cities, points of interest, famous residents, state motto, symbols, nicknames, and other trivia.
  • abstract expressionism - abstract expressionism abstract expressionism, movement of abstract painting that emerged in New ...
  • January 24 Birthdays: Edith Wharton - January 24 birthdays: Edith Wharton, Mary Lou Retton, Aaron Neville, John Belushi, Mischa Barton, Matthew Lillard, Warren Zevon, Neil Diamond, Ernest Borgnine, William Congreve, Frederick the Great, Robert Motherwell, Maria Tallchief

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American and Canadian Art: Biographies