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Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) was a painter, printmaker, and collage artist and a leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement in New York. He was also a prolific writer, which made him an important spokesman for Abstract Expressionism. Born in Aberdeen, Washington, Motherwell studied at the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles and at the California School of Fine Arts before earning his B.A. from Stanford University in 1936. In 1940 he began studying art history with Meyer Schapiro, who encouraged him to become a painter. In his work, he invoked Surrealist techniques of automatism endeavoring to tap into the emotion and authenticity of the sunbonscious. He received his first one-man show in 1944 at Peggy Guggenheims Art of this Century Gallery in New York City, and in 1949 began his most famous series, Elegy to the Spanish Republic. Motherwell wedded painter Helen Frankenthaler in 1960, who he was married to for 13 years. His works are in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Modern in London, among others.

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