Robert Motherwell


"Capriccio" is a colorful and very early Motherwell edition. Both distinctive and striking it reproduces a mixed media drawing from 1960 realize in his signature palette of black, marigold yellow, fire red, and primary blue.

In typical Motherwell fashion, the giant black form/backround swells across the surface, confidently devouring the pictorial plane aside from a narrow asymmetrical cove filled with gestural marks, rapid shapes and lines of bold color.

Around 1943 Motherwell created his first prints, one etching and one engraving, both were tiny editions, around of around 3. It is astonishing that Motherwell would only return to printmaking nearly 20 years later in 1961. During the sixties Motherwell only makes around 2 dozen prints, so editioned works from this era are highly sought after. 

 "Capriccio" was produced for an exhibition of Motherwell's collages at the Berggruem Gallery, Paris, where the original drawing was shown. This Italian name is fitting, it appears in both music and art. For the latter it relates to assembling fantasy buildings or ruins in a composition. Collage, which plays such an important role in Motherwell's oeuvre, is similarly placing disparate elements together to create something pleasing and beautiful. 

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) is one of the essential American abstract painters that radically defined post-war abstraction in New York City.

Today, his work appears in museum collections around the world and is instantly recognizable for its boldness and black forms. His auction record was set in 2018 at $12.6 million USD. In addition to his impressive paintings, Motherwell is also revered as a printmaker. He is one of the most innovative and prolific printmakers of the 20th century. He was always searching for new techniques, whether at his own printmaking atelier, or collaborating with others, to expand his ideas and express his aesthetic.


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France, 1960 

Collotype and hand-painted pochoir on Arches Cover paper

Signed by artist lower right, initials reproduced lower right

From the "Artist's Own Series" part of the edition of 45

25.5"H 19.5"W (sheet) 

Framed with museum glass 

Toning in margins. Overall very good condition.

Published by Berggruen & Cie. Paris.

Literature: "Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940-1991 Catalogue Raisonne" pg. 273.

Note: Original frame backing includes large signature and dedication. 

Additional images coming soon. 

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