Skip to main content Skip to Search Box

Definition: Motherwell from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

Robert Motherwell 1915–1991 Am. artist

Summary Article: Motherwell, Robert
From The Columbia Encyclopedia

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 Engberg, S. , Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940-1991 (2004) and.
  • Flam, J. 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 Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

Related Articles

Full text Article Motherwell, Robert (1915 - 1991)
The Bloomsbury Guide to Art

He was associated with Abstract Expressionism . He was born in Aberdeen, Washington. He attended the Otis Art Institute, Los...

Full text Article Motherwell Robert (1915 - 1991)
A Biographical Dictionary of Artists, Andromeda

Robert Burns Motherwell was the youngest of the group of Abstract Expressionist painters in New York in the early 1940s. A student...

Full text Article Motherwell, Robert (1915 - 1991)
The Macmillan Encyclopedia

Largely self-taught, he turned to painting during World War II, under the influence of the European surrealists. He became a...

See more from Credo