Samurai No. 2

Robert Motherwell

Motherwell had revealing things to say about both halves of the name "Abstract Expressionism," the term that was applied to the art of the New York School after World War II. As he pointed out, the word abstract, derived from Latin, literally means "taken away." The artist who makes an abstraction takes the subject away from everything that is accidental or incidental, so that only the essences remain. The word expressionism hints at the inherent violence of the style (as Motherwell characterized it), a quality that distinguished the art of the New York School from earlier, European forms of abstraction. As Motherwell's contemporary, the well-known teacher Robert Beverly Hale, put it, "If our art seems violent, it's because we have perpetrated more violence than any other generation. If it deals with weird dreams, it is because we have opened the caverns of the mind and let such phantoms loose."
Date of Birth
Acrylic on board
48 x 36 in. (121.92 x 91.44 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Gift of the Dedalus Foundation and the John Lambert Fund
On View
On Loan