Robert Motherwell: Early Collages

Robert Motherwell, View from a High Tower, 1944–45 (© Dedalus Foundation/License
Robert Motherwell, View from a High Tower, 1944–45, tempera, oil, ink, pastel, and pasted wood veneer, drawing papers, Japanese papers, and printed map on paperboard, 74.3 x 74.3 cm (Private collection © Dedalus Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY)

Piri Halasz reviews the exhibition Robert Motherwell: Early Collages at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, on view through January 5, 2014.

Halasz writes that, in viewing the show "it becomes clear that the collages served an important purpose for the artist They enabled him to progress from his youthful admiration for cubist painting on to the freer and bolder original paintings that he was to create as one of the founding fathers of abstract expressionism. ... if one looks at oils like 'The Homely Protestant' (1948) or even the ur-version of 'Elegy to the Spanish Republic' (also 1948), one sees that he has learned to combine straight lines with curves and rounded forms, not really surrealist but liberated from the strictures of cubism. This was what the use of collage taught him, to loosen up and fly."