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Robert Motherwell (artist)



The New York School’s resident poet/philosopher, Robert Motherwell understood abstract art as a “form of mysticism,” a means by which the imagination might apprehend the unseen and universal. Motherwell never doubted that abstraction was the only valid mode for a painter in the modern world. When asked his approach to painting, the artist explained that: The game is not what things ‘look like.’ The game is organizing, as accurately and with as deep discrimination as one can, states of feeling; and states of feeling, when generalized, become questions of light, color, weight, solidity, airiness, lyricism, sombreness, heaviness, strength, whatever….”No one played the “game” with as much grace and intelligence as Motherwell.

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Robert Motherwell (January 24, 1915 – July 16, 1991) was an American abstract expressionist painter, printmaker, and editor of The Dada Painters and Poets: an Anthology. He was one of the youngest of the New York School, which also included Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Trained in philosophy, Motherwell then became an artist regarded as among the most articulate spokesmen and the founders of the abstract expressionist painters. He was known for his series of abstract paintings and prints which touched on political, philosophical and literary themes, such as the Elegies to the Spanish Republic.