Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991)
Oil on canvas
30 x 38 inches
Purchase with funds from Alfred Austell Thornton in memory of Leila Austell Thornton and Albert Edward Thornton, Sr., and Sarah Miller Venable and William Hoyt Venable and gift of the Dedalus Foundation
Currently not on view
Recurring themes in Robert Motherwell’s work offer a continual reminder of the influence of World War II, most notably in the Spanish Elegy series. Part of that series, Barcelona is a simple composition that reflects the elegy, among several other key motifs. According to Motherwell, “The ‘Elegies’ were named instinctively, intuitively, after the fact, not programmed rationally.” Although he had not visited Spain, he was able to summon an evocation of it to express the basic human emotions that would serve as a touchstone for his work. Motherwell’s art is a timely, seasoned, and poignant pursuance of modern life, echoing man’s existential struggle to infuse meaning into life.