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Modern and Contemporary Art

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Artwork Details


Robert Motherwell
American, 1915–1991




Oil on canvas

Accession #



30 x 38 inches


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.


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

Image Copyright

© Dedalus Foundation/VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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