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Robert Motherwell (American, 1915–1991)
LOT ID: 76015
Untitled (from Portfolio 9), 1967

Lithograph
22.25 х 17.25 in. (56.52 x 43.82 cm.)
Signed, stamped, lower left with artist's trademark initials; numbered, lower right from the edition of 100; publishers and printer's blindstamp lower right
Edition 100
Foundry/Publisher Irwin Hollander, Hollander Workshop
Lot description
This scarce and iconic stone lithograph by Robert Motherwell was printed by ULAE in 1967 - a most desirable era. Robert Motherwell, one of the founders of the New York School of Abstract Expressionism, whose members included Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Adolph Gottlieb, Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still, was the only one of the original Abstract Expressionists to enthusiastically embrace printmaking early on, collaborating with some of the major workshops of the era - including Irwin Hollander who left Tamarind to come to New York to found his own print studio.

This gestural work was created as part of the legendary 'Portfolio 9' in 1967 - one of the most influential eras in 20th century art. It was housed in a gray cloth-colored box with maroon paper inner panels and a large maroon "9" designed by Richard Lindner on the cover. Portfolio 9 featured nine of the most important artists of the era, representative of the three major trends: Pop Art, Minimalism and Abstract Expressionism: Roy Lichtenstein, Saul Steinberg, Richard Lindner, Robert Motherwell, Henry Pearson, Louise Nevelson, Sam Francis, Willem de Kooning- and Ellsworth Kelly. The Introduction to the portfolio was written by Una E. Johnson, Curator of Prints & Drawings, The Brooklyn Museum. Johnson wrote in 1967 for the colophon page: "The artists were selected to demonstrate the great diversity and character of lithography in the United States today...the dialogue of diverse forms and many faceted idioms that compose this graphic journal mirror the eloquence and delight the strengths and caprices of a period. Furthermore, they reflect in fine measure the creative achievements of artists attuned to their time.."

Nearly half a century later, this print has become more scarce, as so many of the 100 are already in the collections of major institutions world wide including the Smithsonian, MOMA and the Albright Knox Gallery.

The lithograph offered here has superb provenance: it comes directly from 'Portfolio 9', numbered 69/100. This is the very first time since 1967 that this hand signed & numbered print will be separated from the original portfolio presentation box.

It is fully referenced in both catalogue raisonnes of the Prints of Robert Motherwell, by Stephanie Terenzio and Siri Engberg and Joan Banach, Hudson Hills Press, plate 56, page 96.

According to the description of this print in the catalogue raisonne, "Organized as a celebration of Irwin Hollander's collaboration with American artists working in the medium of lithography, the Portfolio 9 is a compendium of images by nine of Hollander's artist collaborators. ....Motherwell had Hollander print a large body of proofs from the plate in black on Rives BFK paper which he later hand finished with acrylic paint as unique paper works and titled IH series."

This is such a significant lithograph that the zinc plate for this image was later used as an underplate in the Basque Suite (Cat. nos 79-88).

This iconic print is in mint condition; never framed with desirable deckled edges - so it would look terrific floated and framed
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Untitled (from Portfolio 9) by Robert Motherwell
  • Untitled (from Portfolio 9) by Robert Motherwell
  • Untitled (from Portfolio 9) by Robert Motherwell
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