Saturday, September 19, 2009

1936 painted in 1960

1958-60, oil and charcoal on canvas. Although he was only 21 when the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Robert Motherwell was deeply affected by the conflict, and would make over 200 works on the subject. I found this one at MoMA and took the photo with my iPhone (forgive the poor quality). A monumental canvas, stark imagery, an apparently symbolic use of color (smoldering blackness...of death?... against vital whiteness...of life?...) convey passionate feelings. And we know which side Motherwell was on: the side of the Republic, a lost cause. MoMA acquired this canvas in 1998.