Robert Motherwell



Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), alongside Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, and Willem de Kooning, made up the quartet of abstract painters that radically defined Modern painting in America and established New York City as the new center of the art world.

Motherwell was the unofficial spokesman of the New York School, writing, editing a journal, and lecturing on behalf of the movement, his fellow artists, and the merits of abstraction. 

Motherwell’s works are instantly recognizable by their repeated visual motifs. A devoted exploration within his practice was working with abstract fields of dark negative space. Often aggressive or elegant in their spontaneity, his compositions hold confident energy. 

The Africa Suite portfolio is an important part of Motherwell's printmaking oeuvre because of its celebration of gestural black forms.  In this body of work, Motherwell asks the spirit of abstract expressionism to confront minimalism.

"Africa Suite #6" is one of most memorable examples from this series of prints. It features a bold and very ambiguous black shape against a warm neutral color field. The simplicity of this shape recalls a both a flexed bicep and a sort marine creature. Is this shape representing something menacing or friendly? Or is it simply an abstraction?

Motherwell's contribution to the art historical canon is undisputed. This recognition is imbued as a result of his prolific achievements in printmaking. He is revered as one of the most experimental and courageous printmakers of the 20th century. 

This work can be found in a number of museum collections around the world including the Tate (London) and the Buffalo AKG Art Museum.

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720. Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.

“Africa Suite #6" 

USA, 1970

Colour Screenprint on J.B. green paper

Initialed and dated in pencil, lower margin

Signed in the plate

Artist’s blind stamp lower right

From an edition of 150

40.75"H 28.25"W (work)

44.25"H 33.75"W (framed)

Minor wear to frame

Very good condition.

Published by Marlborough Graphics, Inc., New York.

Printed at Kelpra Studio, London

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