Overview

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Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)

The Red and Black No. 25

Details
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
The Red and Black No. 25
signed and dated 'Motherwell 87' (lower right)
ink, aquatint and paper collage on paper
31 ¾ x 25 in. (80.6 x 63.5 cm.)
Executed in 1987-1988.
Provenance
Base Gallery, Tokyo, 1990
Anon. sale; Sotheby's, New York, 11 May 2005, lot 254
Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Los Angeles
Osborne Samuel, London
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
M. Pleynet, Robert Motherwell, Paris, 1989, pp. 195 and 200 (illustrated).
J. Flam, K. Rogers, and T. Clifford, Robert Motherwell Paintings and Collages, A Catalogue Raisonné, 1941-1991, Volume Three: Collages and Paintings on Paper and Paperboard, New Haven and London, 2012, pp. 360-361, no. C784 (illustrated).
Exhibited
London, Waddington Graphics, Robert Motherwell, October 1989.
Los Angeles, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, New Acquisitions, Part One: The Moderns, October-November 2005.
Los Angeles, Leslie Sacks Fine Art, Robert Motherwell: Prints and Unique Works on Paper, July-August 2009.

Lot Essay

“Motherwell's collages amount to a definition of their medium. It is the nature of glued paper to look flat, frontal and spreading; to build its image in planes; to set up counterpoints between word and shape; to make one focus on texture and edge. Motherwell draws by tearing, and the implied violence of the torn edge (which looks and feels very different from the clean-cut edges of Braque's newsprint or Matisse's scissored paper) plays, in collage, the same role as the ejaculatory splattering of paint in his paintings. It is chance, fixed: no one can say how a piece of paper will go when it is torn. This combination of violence and reflection, along with the easel size of the images, is Motherwell's basic addition to the art of collage. In making it, he became the only artist since Matisse in the fifties to alter significantly the syntax of this quintessentially modernist medium."
(Robert Hughes as quoted in R. Hughes, Nothing if Not Critical: Selected Essays on Art and Artists, New York, 1987, p. 294).

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