Robert Motherwell | Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2024)

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Robert Motherwell | Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1)

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Robert Motherwell American

Not on view

Beginning about 1948, Motherwell began making oil sketches and paintings that evolved into a series of more than one hundred variations on a theme he called Elegies to the Spanish Republic. Initially inspired by the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and contemporary poetry, his Elegies constitute an extended abstract meditation on life and death. Throughout the series, horizontal white canvases are divided rhythmically by two or three freely drawn vertical bars and punctuated at various intervals by ovoid forms. The paintings are most often composed entirely of black and white—the colors of mourning and radiance, death and life. Motherwell remarked on the entanglement of those forces as a metaphor for his understanding of the experience of being alive.

Robert Motherwell | Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (3)

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Robert Motherwell | Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (4)

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Artwork Details

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Title: Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70

Artist: Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

Date: 1961

Medium: Oil on canvas

Dimensions: 69 x 114 in. (175.3 x 289.6 cm)

Classification: Paintings

Credit Line: Anonymous Gift, 1965

Accession Number: 65.247

Rights and Reproduction: © 2024 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Learn more about this artwork

Timeline of Art History

Essay

Abstract Expressionism

Chronology

The United States and Canada, 1900 A.D.-present

Museum Publications

Twentieth-Century Art: Selections from the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 2, Painting, 1945–1985

Modern and Contemporary Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Art = Discovering Infinite Connections in Art History

"The Abstract Expressionists"

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  • Oil paintings
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  • From A.D. 1900–present

Tricolor

Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

1973

Game of Chance

Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

1987

Vivo (Sepia)

Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

1986

Dedication–Lincoln Center Oct. 26, 1969. Julliard School

Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

1969

Untitled

Robert Motherwell (American, Aberdeen, Washington 1915–1991 Provincetown, Massachusetts)

1966

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Robert Motherwell | Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 70 | The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2024)

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