Motherwell & Frankenthaler

mid-century Husband & wife=power couple

Robert Motherwell

b. 1915, Aberdeen, Wash.; d. 1991, Provincetown

Robert Motherwell was born January 4, 1915, in Aberdeen, Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to the Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles at age 11, and in 1932 studied painting briefly at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Motherwell received a B.A. from Stanford University in 1937 and enrolled for graduate work later that year in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He traveled to Europe in 1938 for a year of study abroad. His first solo show was presented at the Raymond Duncan Gallery in Paris in 1939.

For Rocky, who lived right next to Motherwell in Provincetown - back in the day!

In September of 1940, Motherwell settled in New York, where he entered Columbia University to study art history with Meyer Schapiro, who encouraged him to become a painter. In 1941, Motherwell traveled to Mexico with Roberto Matta for six months. After returning to New York, his circle came to include William Baziotes, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, and Jackson Pollock. In 1942, Motherwell was included in the exhibition First Papers of Surrealism at the Whitelaw Reid Mansion, New York. In 1944, Motherwell became editor of the Documents of Modern Art series of books, and he contributed frequently to the literature on Modern art from that time.

Motherwell and Frankenthaler in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

A solo exhibition of Motherwell’s work was held at Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century gallery, New York, in 1944. In 1946, he began to associate with Herbert Ferber, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko, and spent his first summer in East Hampton, Long Island. This year, Motherwell was given solo exhibitions at the Arts Club of Chicago and the San Francisco Museum of Art, and he participated inFourteen Americans at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artist subsequently taught and lectured throughout the United States, and continued to exhibit extensively in the United States and abroad. A Motherwell exhibition took place at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, and the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in 1976–77. He was given important solo exhibitions at the Royal Academy, London, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., in 1978. A retrospective of his works organized by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, traveled in the United States from 1983 to 1985. From 1971, the artist lived and worked in Greenwich, Connecticut. He died July 16, 1991, in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

inside Motherwell's home in Greenwich, CT

Motherwell's studio in CT

Motherwell and Frankenthaler in Provencetown, Ma

Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler was born in New York in 1928. Raised on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in a cultured and progressive family (her father, Alfred Frankenthaler, was a respected New York State Supreme Court judge), Frankenthaler and her sisters were encouraged to study and pursue professional careers. In 1945 she graduated from the Dalton School, where she studied with the Mexican painter Rufino Tamayo. She later studied with Paul Feeley at Bennington College in Vermont, where she absorbed the visual language of Cubism and the formal structures of Old Master painting. After graduating in 1949, and having received a substantial inheritance, she studied privately with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1950, and then returned to New York to paint full-time. There, later that same year, while organizing an exhibition at the Jacques Seligmann gallery, she met Clement Greenberg, through whom she would meet some of the central figures of the New York School, including Willem de Kooning, Lee Krasner, Jackson Pollock, and David Smith.

For Randall- who always has Frankenthaler's work tacked up on his wall.
Paint big Slaughts!

In 1958 Frankenthaler married Robert Motherwell. At about the same time she began experimenting with the relationship between fine lines and small, sunlike shapes. In the early 1960s she started producing paintings featuring a single stain or blot; she also began to use acrylic paint to create richly colored canvases. Frankenthaler has taught at Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and New York universities. Her first solo exhibition took place at the Tibor de Nagy Gallery, New York, in the fall of 1951. Frankenthaler lives and works in New York and Darien, Connecticut.

Frankenhaler in her NYC apartment, circa 1960's