An exhibition of 135 drawings, prints and collages by Robert Motherwell will open Jan. 29, 1997, at Columbia University, where he studied art history early in his career.
It is "a memorial tribute to the last and the most articulate of the heroic generation of Abstract Expressionists," said its curator, Columbia art historian David Rosand. Created over a span of more than 40 years, between 1948 and 1989, the works displayed explore the artist's development of themes in concentrated series and in recurrent expressions, or continuities, over time.
The exhibition at Columbia was conceived in collaboration with the artist shortly before his death in 1991 at the age of 76.
"Motherwell's works on paper have rarely received the kind of sustained critical attention or public display they deserve," said Professor Rosand. "They were, the artist himself felt, neglected in his gallery exhibitions in New York."
In 1940, Motherwell was a graduate student of Meyer Schapiro, the late, revered Columbia art historian. Rosand, who now holds the Meyer Schapiro Chair at Columbia, said Schapiro had cleared the way for Motherwell to discover his true path: "The human qualities that Schapiro discerned in modern art...were precisely those that Motherwell was to embody in his work as a painter."