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C716 54889 Web

Liebchen

 1984/1985

C716 54889 Web

Acrylic and pasted papers on canvas mounted on board
36 x 24 in. (91.4 x 61 cm)

Alternative Title

Storm of White

ARTIST’S STUDIO NUMBER

C84-3202

INSCRIPTIONS

Recto, upper right: RM \ 85
Verso (on strainer): “LIEBCHEN” FOR RENATE ♥ Xmas, 1986
Verso: for Renate \ R. Motherwell 1984 \ acrylic on canvas \ [circle and directional arrow indicating orientation of painting]

PRESENT OWNER

Renate Ponsold Motherwell

PROVENANCE

Renate Ponsold Motherwell, 1985

EXHIBITIONS

Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Mass., 2012.

COMMENTS

In the Comments for C716 in the Catalogue Raisonné, the possibility was raised that this work might have been revised from the state in which it was illustrated. This turns out to have been the case. In 1985, Motherwell reworked this collage, then known as A Storm of White, retitled it Liebchen, and dedicated it on the verso, as he had the original version, to Renate Ponsold Motherwell. The radical reworking of the collage included rotating the canvas panel 180 degrees so that the lower right is now the upper left, as well as adding new collage elements and changing the dominant colors from black and blue to black and burnt sienna. This collage includes fragments of the print At the Edge, 1984 (Engberg and Banach 2003, no. 345).
The word, “Liebchen,”“sweetheart” or “dear” in German, is written on a collage element at the center of the work. This word was also used in an etching made by Motherwell for his livre d’artiste of James Joyce’s Ulysses published by Arion Press in 1988 (Engberg and Banach 2003, nos. 445.5 and 450). Motherwell completed dozens of drawings for the Ulysses project during the summer of 1985.
In a July 1988 interview with David Hayman, Motherwell said of the Ulysses etchings: “One plate says ‘Liebchen’ in savage calligraphy. Joyce experts have pointed out to me that liebchen is a word that does not occur in Ulysses. He never wrote the word. My wife happens to be German-born. ‘Liebchen’ is, so to speak, my Molly, my female figure, and since I am not making a scholarly work, I’ll take the right to put my woman into it too” (See “Writings by the Artist,” in the Bibliography).
The composition of this collage was used as the basis for the printed ground in Motherwell’s 1986 Alphabet Series (Engberg and Banach 2003, no. 375).

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