Robert Motherwell
Open No. 122 in Scarlet and Blue 1969

Artwork details

Robert Motherwell 1915–1991
Open No. 122 in Scarlet and Blue
Date 1969
Medium Acrylic paint and charcoal on canvas
Dimensions Support: 2134 x 2540 mm
Acquisition Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1970
Not on display

Display caption

This painting belongs to the 'Open' series which Motherwell commenced in 1967. The inspiration for the series came about accidentally. While working in his studio Motherwell was struck by the shapes resulting from the back of a small painting leaning against the painted surface of a larger one. By outlining the smaller painting in charcoal he was able to suggest an opening at the bottom of the canvas. He inverted subsequent compositions so that a painted rectangle appeared at the top. For Motherwell, 'abstract art is a form of mysticism'. Thus his colours are associated with particular emotions and the rectangular form suggests a gateway or enclosure within a metaphysical space.

September 2004

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