This week we are highlighting Robert Motherwell's ELEGY STUDY No. 2, a painting created in 1983. The "Elegy," form, with vertical rectangles sandwiching ovals, is one Motherwell returned to throughout his career and is signature to his oeuvre. Just 12 inches high, this small painting was rendered in ochre, a color Motherwell used often, and is highly gestural, a nod to his constant striving towards automatism.
About the Elegies:
In 1937, Motherwell heard André Malraux speak at a rally on the Spanish Civil War and discovered a moral issue that would inform his work throughout the rest of his career. Motherwell’s series Elegies to the Spanish Republic, including paintings, prints and works on paper, were sparked by a small drawing Motherwell made in 1948 to accompany a poem by Harold Rosenberg. Although the compositions take many forms and incorporate an array of colors, they are, most often, a horizontal repetition of black bands separated by oval shapes. This theme, considered by many to be Motherwell’s most widely recognizable iconography, bespeaks his perennial meditation on life and death.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991)
ELEGY STUDY NO. 2 1983
Acrylic and Graphite on Canvasboard
12 x 30 inches
Catalogue Raisonné Number P1075
© Copyright 1983 Dedalus Foundation, Inc. / Licensed by VAGA, NY