Madrid Suite, Number 9 [I]
ORIGINAL LITHOGRAPH BY ROBERT MOTHERWELL, one of only 100 signed and numbered by Motherwell.
"For this series, one of many works with a Spanish theme, Motherwell recalled an experience he had while honeymooning in Madrid with Helen Frankenthaler in 1958. He had pinned drawing paper on the hotel walls and like the way the texture of the wall transferred itself to the sheets as he drew. To re-create this experience, Motherwell taped transfer paper to the spackled walls of [printer Irwin] Hollander's studio and rubbed the sheets with lithographic crayons to achieve the desired transfer of texture" (Wye and Figura, Artists & Prints: Masterworks from the Museum of Modern Art).
As Motherwell's printer and collaborator Hollander later explained: "These are rubbings!... [A] transfer of feeling from Madrid to Tenth Street. So by putting a French transfer paper on the wall and taping it, he could take litho crayons and rub. Again, using five grades of pencils, five grades of crayons, five grades of blacks, five grades of washes, he could explore and touch the surfaces. And he did it ten times. Those things sold out. People really loved this kind of symbol. Rich blacks and whites—they're the most desired. These are so rare that only a few people have these. It was just like play. They have to be looked at and spoken about very differently—that's the essence of them. Here is the simple language of Motherwell, coming from the hand, the wrist, very freely, innocently, seeing the surface of the wall, not imposing his own will... He's still working within a grade of five, which is pure language. The language of the greases" (quoted in Belknap, The Prints of Robert Motherwell: A Catalogue Raisonne).
Number 9 (out of a suite of 10). Belknap 17. This lithograph 94/100.
New York: Hollander Workshop, 1965-66. Size (full litho): 22x27 in (559x686 mm). Printed on Arches paper. A strong impression in fine condition. RARE.
Price: $2,200 .