Private View: Tuesday 11 September 6-8pm
Bernard Jacobson Gallery is delighted to announce an exhibition of limited edition prints by the
American Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell (1915-1991). The exhibition focuses
solely on prints produced in the artist’s studio. This is the first ever show dedicated to this subject
and presents a unique opportunity to view these rare works.
Throughout his long and distinguished career, Robert Motherwell produced a remarkable body of
work that ranks among the most notable achievements in postwar American art. In addition to
creating his celebrated paintings, drawings and collages, Motherwell was a renowned and innovative
printmaker, producing more than 500 works, of which 100 were produced in his studio. It is these
prints which are the focus of the exhibition.
Motherwell first learned about printmaking through the surrealists, who having emigrated from a
troubled Europe to the States had established workshops there for artists to work together and
exchange their ideas and thoughts. In 1940 Motherwell joined them in the workshop of Kurt
Seligmann in New York where he studied etching and first began to adopt the surrealist’s technique
of psychic automatism, an artistic strategy where chance and accident is allowed to dictate the
structure of a composition freed from rational control. This experience was influential for
Motherwell’s development as an artist and had a lasting effect on him as well as other American
His interest in printmaking was re-ignited in the 1960s. Having worked in large workshops such as
Universal Art Editions and Hollander Workshop and gaining extensive experience in the various
printmaking techniques during this period, Motherwell decided in 1973 to buy his own etching and
lithography press for his studio in Greenwich, Connecticut, where he was able to work
independently and unburdened by the constraints of a large, commercial workshop.
“I had always loved working on paper, but it was the camaraderie of the artist-printer relationship
that tilted the scale definitely.”
In the same year, Motherwell hired the master printer Catherine Mosley, who worked with him in
his studio for almost twenty years until his death in 1991.
“To work with such craftsmen has been a joy and a welcome break from the essential solitude in
which the artist works…no modern artist is an island – individual as he is…he works and lives
owing, in part, of the givingness – and skills of others.”
Working in his own studio with his own press proved to be very fruitful for Motherwell. He was
not only able to explore and develop ideas and motifs, he was also able to experiment with
different paper working at his own pace and without any outside constraints. It was also inspiring
for him to be surrounded by his paintings, prints and collages as well as other materials he could
readily draw on as and when he wished. The prints are often intimate in scale and in very small
The exhibition brings together an extensive selection of Motherwell’s studio prints, ranging from
bright and colourful works to dark and violent gestures, from variations on his Open series to his
much celebrated Elegies, executed in different printing techniques. The show presents an
impressive group of rare works rarely seen in public.
For further information , please contact Constance Aehlig at firstname.lastname@example.org or
Tel +44 (0)20 7734 3431.
For images, please see the Bernard Jacobson Gallery site.