Another Look at Robert Motherwell

Robert Motherwell, Open No. 120, 1969, acrylic on canvas 72 x 42 inches (© The D
Robert Motherwell, Open No. 120, 1969, acrylic on canvas 72 x 42 inches (© The Dedalus Foundation, photo by Lance Brewer, courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York)

John Yau reviews Robert Motherwell: Opens at Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York, on view through June 20, 2015.

Yau begins: "Robert Motherwell didn’t believe that Pablo Picasso or Henri Matisse were figures to be overthrown. Instead of trying to triumph over them, he was convinced that he could expand upon their innovations. Moreover, he felt that if he tackled the same issues that they wrestled with, he could achieve something that was all his own. This was his big gamble, but, to my mind, it paid off. Instead of reacting against these European masters, a rebellion that surely propelled a number of postwar American artists to jettison the paintbrush along with drawing, spatiality, and composition, Motherwell regarded Picasso and Matisse as cornerstones to build upon."