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The combination of oval and elongated forms runs through Motherwell’s long series of Elegies to the Spanish Republic, of which this is a late example. Combining precise drawing and expressive gesture he fashioned a loose black structure that embodied the landscape, bravura and tragedy of Spain. The impetus came from Motherwell’s sympathy for the plight of Spain as a result of Franco’s long dictatorship. Another important source was Federico García Lorca’s Lament for Ignacio Sánchez Mejías, commemorating the death of a bullfighter.

July 2012