Catalogue entry

Robert Motherwell born 1915 [- 1991]

T01180 Open No. 122 (in Scarlet and Blue) 1969

Inscribed 'OPEN #122, IN SCARLET + BLUE | 84 x 100" 1969 R. Motherwell' on stretcher
Polymer paint and charcoal on canvas, 84 x 100 (213.5 x 254)
Presented by the artist through the American Federation of Arts 1969

The artist described this work (in his letter of 2 October 1970) as 'one of my favorites, but equally extreme in another direction, i.e. the center tone of the series is missing in your two examples'. Then a few days later he added (15 October 1970): 'The frames ought to be "floating", i.e. with a small empty space, an inch or less, between the edge of the canvas and the frame itself. It is also very important that the pictures be "underlit", i.e. if you can look at the works with a rheostat, you will see that bright light makes them look like objects (like a package of cigarettes), but that as light is reduced, there is a moment when they become objectless and mysterious, and it is that degree of light that is proper (if feasible). In short, they are not hard-edge paintings, but romantic ones - essences.'

Published in:
Ronald Alley, Catalogue of the Tate Gallery's Collection of Modern Art other than Works by British Artists, Tate Gallery and Sotheby Parke-Bernet, London 1981, p.547, reproduced p.547