A monumental Robert Motherwell show

Seminal large-format artworks by one of the youngest artists of the New York School – which included Rothko, Kooning and Pollock – go on show at Kasmin

Robert Motherwell in his Provincetown, Massachusetts studio in 1969
Robert Motherwell in his Provincetown, Massachusetts studio in 1969 | Image: © 2019 The Dedalus Foundation, Inc/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Sheer Presence: Monumental Paintings by Robert Motherwell will be staged at Kasmin in New York from March 21 to May 18 in what will be the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the late artist’s large-format works dating from the 1960s to 1990s. The event is also set to include a group of seminal paintings from The Dedalus Foundation, the arts organisation founded by Motherwell in 1981.  

Open No. 97: The Spanish House (1969), by Robert Motherwell
Open No. 97: The Spanish House (1969), by Robert Motherwell | Image: © 2019 The Dedalus Foundation, Inc/Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. Courtesy of Kasmin

The abstract expressionist’s masterworks, some measuring 304cm x 223cm, promise to be a visual feast set against Kasmin’s spare 279sq m interior. The eight graphic canvases on view include Dublin 1916, with Black and Tan (1963-64); The Forge (1965-66/1967-68); and The Grand Inquisitor (1989-90). Motherwell was known for his gestural, broad brushstrokes and dramatic contrasts of colour, but this exhibition also includes subtler works such as Open in Grey with White Edge (1971) – a soothing acrylic with faint hints of charcoal on canvas. Select pieces in the exhibition will be for sale through the gallery, priced from $2m to $10m.

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In a career spanning over five decades, the prolific Motherwell was a painter, printmaker, teacher and editor, and these works are among his most visually arresting. “Motherwell was an especially emphatic, intuitive mark-maker, and the large-format canvas provided a vehicle for him to really embrace his painterly ambitions,” says Kasmin director Eric Gleason.

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