Robert Motherwell on life and art

Here are a few of my favorite observations by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991). Briefly, he was an American painter, printmaker, and editor. He was one of the youngest of the New York School, which also included Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko.

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Walk on a rainbow trail; walk on a trail of song, and all about you will be beauty. There is a way out of every dark mist, over a rainbow trail.

Most painting in the European tradition was painting the mask. Modern art rejected all that. Our subject matter was the person behind the mask.

Art is much less important than life, but what a poor life without it.

It may be that the deep necessity of art is the examination of self-deception.

If you can’t find your inspiration by walking around the block one time, go around two blocks-but never three.

It’s not that the creative act and the critical act are simultaneous. It’s more like you blurt something out and then analyze it.

Wherever art appears, life disappears.

Every intelligent painter carries the whole culture of modern painting in his head. It is his real subject, of which everything he paints in both an homage and a critique, and everything he says is a gloss.

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To learn more about Robert Motherwell and his work, please click here.

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