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The work of American artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) is a landmark in postwar art. His paintings, drawings, and collages share a kinship with the work of his fellow Abstract Expressionists–namely, a strong attachment to psychic self-expression achieved through the act of painting. His art is also tied to literary sources and historic events. A scholar and writer, Motherwell became the unofficial spokesperson for Abstract Expressionism.

In 1995, the Walker Art Center acquired 33 works by Motherwell through the generosity of longtime museum patrons Margaret and Angus Wurtele and the Dedakus Foundation, which represents the artist’s estate. This collection of works is the basis for this exhibition, which examines a range of Motherwell’s visual themes as they evolved through his four-decade career. Among the works in the exhibition are drawings from the Automatism series begun in 1958 and the Lyric Suite of the 1960s. Another section of the exhibition pays homage to the artist’s lifelong involvement with collage. Paintings from Motherwell’s renowned Open series are also on view, including a promised gift from Penny and Mike Winton, as are a selection of his Elegies to the Spanish Republic