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Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell called paper the most “sympathetic of all painting surfaces,” remarking that “it’s a struggle to get a canvas to have the beautiful surface that paper, by nature, already has.” Motherwell drew incessantly, often “painting” on paper to explore new ideas and work through pictorial issues. His drawings reinforce his belief that ideas, emotions and the subconscious can be communicated through the gestural lines and bold forms of abstract art.

Painting on Paper: The Drawings of Robert Motherwell unveils for the first time one of the largest public collections of Motherwell drawings. The works on display were selected primarily from the 74 drawings and paintings acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario in 1998 through a generous gift/purchase arrangement with the Dedalus Foundation, New York. The foundation was set up by Motherwell to place his works in museums and to support exhibitions, research and scholarly programs.

The exhibition covers the trajectory of Motherwell’s work over four decades and is organized around key themes to demonstrate how motifs took root in his imagination and, over time, were revisited, refined and reinterpreted.

Generously supported by The Dedalus Foundation

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