Seeking Transcendence
Exam 1 will be available on Blackboard from Thursday, Septemeber 29 to Monday, October 3 at midnight.
Robert Motherwell and the New York School Storming the Citadel, 1991.









At Five in the Afternoon
Robert Motherwell, At Five in the Afternoon,1949.
Casein and graphite on paperboard 15 X 20 inches.











Garcia Lorca

Federico Garcia Lorca

Garcia Lorca poem, "Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejias"
Lorca wrote the poem to lament the death of his bullfighter friend
Three symbolic colrs in the poem:
Red = blood
White = blinding light of the sun
Black = death










Elegy to the Spanish Republic series
Spanish Civil War 1936 - 1939
More than 700,000 people killed in combat
To Motherwell, the Spanish Civil War served as metaphor for injustice.

  • The U.S. government used it as a symbol of the fight between democracy and fascism.
Modern Art Was CIA Weapon
  • Motherwell conceived the series as commemorations of human suffering
  • Intended as symbols for the cycle of life and death
elegy = lament or funeral song
Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic,
No. 34
, 1953-1954.











Sam Francis, Big Red, 1953.

Young Builders of Communism, c. 1940.


The New American Painting exhibition

Abandoned Yugoslovian WWII Memorials and Monuments











Elegy 110

Allusions to the Spanish struggle in Motherwell's series:
  • Reference to bullfighting in the abstract image of a bull's genitalia (probably inspired by Guernica)
  • Rounded forms pressed against weighty dark bars symbolizes the struggle for democracy & freedom
  • Dramatic sense of tension throughout the compositons
Robert Motherwell, Elegy to the Spanish Republic 110, 1971.










Pink Angels

Willem de Kooning, Pink Angels, 1945.













Wilem de Kooning, Excavation, 1950.











Woman and Bicycle

Willem de Kooning, Seated Woman, 1940.
Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952 - 1953.






















"Pleasure only starts once the worm has got into the fruit, to become delightful happiness must be tainted with poison."  - Georges Bataille

Woman and Bicycle

Vagina dentata = Latin for toothed vagina. Various cultures have folk tales about women with toothed vaginas, frequently told as cautionary tales warning of the dangers of sex with strange women.
Niki Minaj Turn Me On
Willem de Kooning, Woman and Bicycle, 1952 - 1953.











Willem and Elaine de Kooning

"To establish once and for al that I did not pose for these ferocious women. I was taken aback to discover in Hans' photograph that I and the painted lady seemed like…mother and daughter. We're even smiling the same way." - Elaine de Kooning

Hans Namuth, Willem and Elaine de Kooning 1953.











Onement I

Barnett Newman, Onement I, 1948.











Suggestions in Onement

Onement I

Oneness with another being
  • When you atone you connect and communicate
  • Jews atone during Yom Kippur
  • Cabbalists regard Yom Kippur as a time to reflect on the mystery of creation
  • The separation of light and darkness
  • The beginning of life
Red-brown field
  • Suggests the earth
  • Hebrew word for earth = adamah
  • In Genesis, Adam was made from earth
Barnett Newman, Onement I, 1948.