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Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting

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A new definitive overview of the founding Abstract Expressionist celebrated for his Elegies to the Spanish Republic

Famously the most politicized and intellectual of the Abstract Expressionists, Robert Motherwell (1915–91) evolved a form of austere gesturalism reflective of both the human psyche and the political realm. Robert Motherwell: Pure Painting offers an in-depth exploration of his oeuvre—the first publication to do so in many years. Leading art scholars Jennifer Cohen, Susan Davidson, Simon Kelly, Monica McTighe and Sarah Rich examine Motherwell’s turn from Surrealism to abstraction and consider the major series that developed over his 50-year career. The catalog also studies the dialogue between Motherwell’s art and the 19th-century French painting tradition, and investigates his relationship to Spanish painting techniques and processes, with an emphasis on underlying political significance of this relationship (as expressed in his great series Elegies to the Spanish Republic). Another section looks at Motherwell’s unique use of ocher pigment, with its evocation of deep geological time and of avant-garde strategies.