Robert Motherwell(1915-1991)

motherwellportrait

Motherwell was both a critic and painter and is seen by some as the voice of the Abstract Expressionists: “Without his tireless devotion to communication (in addition to his prolific painting), well-known abstract expressionists like Mark Rothko, who was extremely shy and rarely left his studio, might not have made it into the public eye.”* He studied philosophy, art history, aesthetics and archaeology at various American universities. In the writings of Motherwell, as well as in his life, we see the rebirth of a kind of Renaissance man, a well rounded, intelligent and articulate artist- “Every intelligent painter carries the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is the real subject, of which everything he paints is both an homage and a critique, and everything he says is a gloss.” ** [Note again the way language betrays a male-biased society]

Motherwell wrote: “It may be that the deep necessity of art is the examination of self-deception.”*** I feel this chimes with what I was discussing in the studies of Rothko and Pollock, the element of self in painting. In a broader way, does this mean that our standard knowledge of abstract expressionism is an exploration of the male self or psyche?

Sources: *http://www.artinthepicture.com/artists/Robert_Motherwell/Biography/, ** http://www.artinthepicture.com/artists/Robert_Motherwell/Quotes/, *** http://quote.robertgenn.com/auth_search.php?authid=67 . Image: http://weblogs.newsday.com/realestate/blog/motherwellstudiio.jpg


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