Sunday, September 25, 2011

Robert Motherwell by Rachel Sperry

Robert Motherwell!
Source: Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940-1991
Siri Engberg/Joan Banach
NE 539 M67 A4

Printed at ULAE

Throw of the Dice #4, 1963

Lithograph in 1 color on Rives BFK

Robert Motherwell began his interest in art within the discipline of Art History. He studied at Stanford, Harvard and finally at Columbia University in New York City under Meyer Shapiro. In 1940 Shapiro introduced Motherwell to the printer Kurt Seligmann and this was his first introduction to printmaking. With Seligmann he studied engraving. In the mid 1940's Motherwell worked in a collaborative workshop founded by Stanley Hayter. Hayter who had started Atelier17 in Paris had to flee France and moved his workshop to lower Manhattan. Robert Motherwell was one of the first Americans to work in Atelier17 once it moved to Manhattan. Stanley Hayer is quoted (in an explanation of the benefits of printmaking) saying "if you know what it's going to look like, why bother making it?"(p.16) and Motherwell was attracted to that view of art making. After working at Atelier17 Motherwell went on to work at ULAE, Tamarind Lithography Workshop, and Gemini G.E.L. In the 1970's inspired by the collage that was present in his paintings, he pinned collage pieces to the wall of the Gemini workshop and the printers reproduced the collage pieces and attached them to his prints using the press. He was always inspired by what was around him and his paintings and prints began to inspire each other. Motherwell wrote in 1979, "Good images have a way of generating others ... The despair of the artist is that he can only work on one at a time." (p.33) I like the idea of good images inspiring and generating new ones and I think printmaking is a great example of a medium in which this becomes evident because of the ability to make multiples, varied editions, and ghosts prints that can then turn into future work.

Above: printed at ULAE
Tricolor (Appendix 8), 1983
Lithograph on Arches
Edition: 125

Below: printed at ULAE

Gauloises Bleues (White), 1970

Intaglio in 2 colors with aquatint and line-cut on Auvergne a la Main Richard de Bas

edition: 40

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