Born 1915 in Aberdeen/USA
1935 Studies art history, archaeology and philosophy at Stanford University, the California School of Fine Arts, Columbia University in New York and Harvard University.
From 1941 onwards, Robert Motherwell repeatedly dealt with printmaking processes, which he tested experimentally.
In the early 1940s, the ideas of Surrealism had a lasting influence. The theory of "automatism" in particular made some impression on the young artist, who also experimented with the automatic technique himself in hand drawings.
1945-50 Lectureship at Black Mountain College in Beria
1948 Founds the art school "Subjects of the Artists" together with Mark Rothko, Barnett Newman and William Baziotes
1950-58 Professor at Hunter College, New York. His students include Robert Rauschenbert and Cy Twombly
1959 and 1964 Participation in the Documenta, Kassel
From 1965 retrospectives in major museums worldwide
Died in 1991 in Princeton/USA
Robert Motherwell has been one of the most important representatives of Abstract Expressionism since the post-war period. Early in his career he was attracted to the Surrealist ideas of using the unconscious as a source for images, a method he called "psychic automatism". "You don't have to paint a figure to express human emotion," Motherwell said. He shared with other founders of Abstract Expressionism the belief that the source of art lies in uninhibited inner reality rather than observed reality. Motherwell's paintings were characterised by an impulsive and intuitive approach. He quickly found his aesthetic visual language and maintained it until the end. His paintings, collages and graphics live from the variation of recurring elements, the colour black dominates, one often finds oval forms that are repeatedly altered in variations. His series of paintings Elegies to the Spanish Republic, an artistic examination of the Spanish Civil War, is well known. Over a period of more than 30 years, Motherwell painted more than 150 variations of large, black shapes on a light background. Motherwell had his first solo exhibition at Galerie Georg Nothelfer in 1995.