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    Sale 2049

    Post-War & Contemporary Art Morning Session

    13 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 151

    Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)

    Singing Yellow

    Price Realised  


    Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
    Singing Yellow
    signed with initials 'RM' (upper right); signed again, titled and dated '"SINGING YELLOW" 1968 Robert Motherwell' (on the reverse)
    acrylic and charcoal on canvas
    69 x 58 in. (175.3 x 147.3 cm.)
    Painted in 1968.

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    This work will be included in the forthcoming Catalogue raisonné of paintings and collages being prepared by the Dedalus Foundation.

    In 1967 Motherwell began to explore a primarily linear approach to composition, creating grids upon his canvases, as in Singing Yellow. As he explained, It used to cross my mind from time to time that it would be much more intelligent to go the other way to begin with unity and then, within unity, create (through dividing) disparate elements (R. Motherwell, quoted in J. Flam, Motherwell, New York, 1991, p. 25). While evoking Mondrians modernist grids, Motherwell also embraced chance; he was inspired by the sight of a large canvas in his studio painted with yellow ochre, upon which a smaller canvas was by chance stacked, which he then traced in charcoal to create a new kind of composition.


    Marlborough-Gerson Gallery, Inc., New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1968

    Pre-Lot Text

    Property from the Collection of Robert and Jean Shoenberg

    Christie's is honored to offer for sale paintings and works of art from the Collection of Robert and Jean Shoenberg.
    The Collection, comprising Contemporary Paintings and Sculpture, Prints, Jewelry and African and Oceanic Art, will be sold over the course of the Fall and Winter 2008 seasons. Furnishings and decorations selected from the Shoenberg home will be offered in an Interiors Sale in Spring 2009.

    The Shoenberg Family was integral in the philanthropic and cultural life of St. Louis for the better part of the 20th century. The generous contributions of the family and the Shoenberg Foundation are evidenced in the Contemporary Collection of the St Louis Art Museum where Robert Shoenberg served on the board for many years.

    Entering the Shoenberg house on Westmoreland Place in St. Louis was to step back a half century . The decor, a glamorous design created in 1950 by the New York firm of McMillen Inc., was enhanced by its owners, finely attuned art collectors, who personalized the house during the ensuing years. With their extraordinary taste and eye for the best contemporary art being created at the time, they covered the walls with outstanding paintings by Rothko, Kelly and Lichtenstein, while upstairs prints mirrored the painting collection with works by Johns, Frankenthaler, Motherwell and Barnett Newman. In addition the Tribal Art collection, begun in the 50's, belied an interest in the world beyond the Americas. The jewelry collection spoke to the history of the family, recording marriages and births, holidays and the bonds between the couple. The Collection as a whole represents a vanished time, a world of glamour and cultivation, but also a time of values and social responsibility, a different America.


    The St. Louis Art Museum, Contemporary Masterpieces from the Shoenberg Foundation, December 1981-January 1982.