Robert Motherwell oder Wie das Alltägliche zur Kunst wird 16. February 2019 - 27. April 2019

About the exhibition

The Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie is showing for the first time an exhibition by the world-famous American Abstract Expressionist Robert Motherwell (1915 - 1991). As a painter, writer and editor of major publications, Motherwell, who studied art history, literature and philosophy, combines the strictly formal compositions of European modernism with the more spontaneous, emotionally expressive methods of Abstract Expressionism.

The vernissage of the exhibition 'Robert Motherwell or How the Everyday Becomes Art' will take place on Saturday, February 16, 2019 at 5 p.m. The introduction is held by the nationwide known art historian Wibke von Bonin, Cologne, who also wrote the foreword to the 64-page catalog.

Special highlights of this exhibition are the works Brasileira, 1975, acrylic, graphite and printed paper collage on canvas on a wooden panel, 121 x 91 cm and French Revolution Bicentennial No. 5, 1987, acrylic, varnish and glued paper on paper, 25.4 x 35.6 cm.

Both are outstanding collages that, in the example of Brasileira, integrate everyday objects - for the passionate smoker Motherwell in this case a cigarette pack - into the work of art. For French Revolution Bicentennial No. 5, different materials such as acrylic and lacquer are brought together to form a composition which, in addition to classic tachistic motifs, also culminates the lily as a French coat of arms element in a work that impressively stages Motherwell's long-standing and profound connection to European art. For Motherwell, collages are an important part of his oeuvre. Together with Jackson Pollock, Motherwell was invited by Peggy Guggenheim to an exhibition of collages by European modernists in New York in 1943. Up to this point in time neither of them had any experience with this technique, but they implemented it very successfully. Unlike Pollock, for whom this was a one-off excursion, the collage became an integral part of his work for Motherwell.

Motherwell is also a painter of the series. Among the best known are the 'Elegies to the Spanish Republic'. These works are dominated by a strong black and white contrast, which is intended to express the mourning for the dead of the Spanish civil war. Also in works like Monster, 1975, lithography on laid paper, 104.1 x 78.7 cm or Lament for Lorca, 1982, lithography on laid paper, 111.8 x 154.9 cm, the focus is on black, here accentuated with small orange color fields.

The focus on one color also remains a theme in other groups of works. Red Sea III, 1983, aquatint, reserve and aquatint on laid paper, 90.2 x 46.4 cm is a particularly impressive example of this. In this work the influence of European Tachism is evident.

As the only representative of his generation of Abstract Expressionists, Motherwell uses printing techniques extensively as part of his artistic practice. For him, lithographs are a field in which he is constantly experimenting. Using countless types of paper and printing processes, Motherwell seeks and finds a wide variety of forms of expression, be it works reminiscent of ink such as Dance I, 1978, Reservage and Aquatint on paper, 49.5 x 77.5 cm or in the use of his diverse colorful collages, the serve as a template for editions. Motherwell also draws from everyday life, for example by making cigarette packs from all over the world part of his collages and then processing them into hand-colored lithographs Roth-Handle II (olive), (ocher) or (crimson), 1975, hand-colored aquatint and line cut on laid paper, 62.9 x 53 cm.

Motherwell's works have been exhibited in numerous international museums such as the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid. They are also part of important collections at Tate Britain, the Städel Museum, Frankfurt, the Fondación Miró and many more.

From 16 February to 27 April 2019 the exhibition  ‚Robert Motherwell oder Wie das Alltägliche zur Kunst wird‘ will be presented at the Samuelis Baumgarte Galerie.

Opening Hours

Monday - Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.


Opening: 16 February 2019, 5 p. m.

Introduction: Wibke von Bonin, Art historian and Publicist , Cologne

Press Information

Invitation Card

Online Katalog


"Expressionismus aus Amerika", NW, 18.02.2019

"Ein liebenswürdiger Kolorist", WB, 16./17.02.2019

Online Katalog

Past exhibitions