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Exhibition at Bernard Jacobson finds Robert Motherwell's inventive drawings appeal to collectors
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Untitled, 1963. Oil, acrylic and ink on paper, 73.7 x 58.4 cm © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York , NY. Asking price $135,000.

LONDON.- Private collectors, predominantly from the UK and Europe , have found the creative drawings by the American Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell irresistible. Of the 90 works in Robert Motherwell: Works on Paper (11 October to 26 November 2011), the first ever exhibition dedicated to drawings and paintings on paper by the artist to be held in Britain, some 70 sold at prices between $10,000 and $300,000, resulting in one of the most successful exhibitions staged by the Bernard Jacobson Gallery. Bernard Jacobson said: ‘I have long felt that Motherwell’s work was underappreciated and have been delighted with the enthusiastic response to this exhibition. His drawings are both poetic and powerful and this showing of his works on paper was long overdue.”

At the centre of the show were 60 drawings, 49 of which sold, from the 565 that make up the Lyric Suite. These were created in April and May 1965, a reinvestigation of first principles amidst the hubbub surrounding the build-up to Motherwell’s first major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art New York that autumn. The rest of the exhibited works spanned his career, the last dated 1990, the year before his death at the age of 76.

Robert Motherwell was a major figure in the birth and development of Abstract Expressionism and the youngest member of the ‘ New York School ’, a term he coined. His career spanned five decades during which he created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. A passionate advocate and articulate spokesman for Abstract Expressionism, he believed that ideas and emotions were best communicated through the bold forms and gestural lines of abstract art. This show also included a group of works from the Beside the Sea series and a selection of works based on James Joyce’s Ulysses as well as an abstract portrait of the poet. Works dating from the 1940s to the 1980s included Elegy and Je t’aime and automatism drawings, work from the Drunk with Turpentine, Gesture and the Open series.

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