Robert Motherwell

1915-1991, American

"Africa 3," from "Africa Suite," 1970

Screenprint in cream and black on wove paper under glass; Marlborough Graphics, Inc., New York, pub.
Edition: 103/150; initialed and numbered in pencil and with the artist's blindstamp in the lower margin: RM
Image: 31.75" H x 23.5" W; Sheet: 40.5" H x 28.25" W

  • Provenance: The Estate of Jane Reisman and Neil Peter Jampolis, Los Angeles, CA
  • Literature: Belknap 42; Engberg & Banach 71
  • Notes: Robert Motherwell was among the small group of New York-based painters who founded the Abstract Expressionist style in the mid 1940s. Relying on spontaneous brushwork and formal qualities, Motherwell's nonobjective compositions offered a new visual language while conveying emotion. Motherwell's 1951 essay, "What Abstract Art Means to Me," originally published in the Museum of Modern Art Bulletin, is his treatise on the emergence of the nonrepresentational style. Motherwell writes that the development of abstraction is "a sign that there are still men of feeling in the world."

    The "Africa Suite" is comprised of ten screenprints produced by Robert Motherwell around 1970. As a group, they are related to a large canvas by the artist in the Baltimore Museum of Art. In the present example, number three in the series, a black abstraction is juxtaposed against a stark white background. The effect is a calligraphic, Rorschach-esque form that is both expressive and dynamic. This composition, and the suite at large, may illustrate an inner world and therefore eludes a fixed meaning.

  • Condition: Generally good condition. Full margins with deckled edges. An unobtrusive, tiny foxmark at lower left. A pinhead-size abrasion in the cream background upper left. A very small, v-shaped notch out of the deckle of the left margin edge and another tiny loss to the tip of the top left margin corner. Framed floating and hinged to the back mat.

    Frame: 43.25" H x 31" W x 1.5" D

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November 9, 2021 10:00 AM PST
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