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Bernard Jacobson Unveils Motherwell Masterpiece at Frieze Masters

Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), Africa No. 6, 1975. Acrylic on canvas on board, 61 x 180.3 cm. © Dedalus Foundation, Inc./Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY.

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BERNARD Jacobson will be exhibiting at Frieze Masters (Stand G1), a new art fair in Regent’s Park, London, from October 11 to October 14, 2012, staged to coincide with Frieze Art Fair which concentrates on contemporary art.

Frieze Masters will feature some ninety of the world’s leading galleries and aims to give a contemporary perspective on the relationship between old and new art, from ancient times to the 20th century, making London the focus for an international art audience in October.

The highlight of Bernard Jacobson’s stand will be a striking acrylic on canvas by Robert Motherwell (1915-1991), one of the leading Abstract Expressionists of the ‘New York School’.

Motherwell’s career spanned five decades during which time he created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. A passionate advocate and articulate spokesman for the movement, he believed that ideas and emotions were best communicated through the bold forms and gestural lines of abstract art. Indeed, the dialogue between black and white was the bedrock of Motherwell’s imagery.

In 1965, Motherwell created a large black painting entitled Africa which depicted a strange, curving, monster-like image now in the Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland. The dark, primeval image conceived in the 1960s continued to intrigue Motherwell although he did not develop it further until late 1975 when he executed eight or ten variants of the Africa theme.

Motherwell said: “As I entered my sixties… I found a certain personal atavism, a growing desire for an almost primeval force (that has always been more or less latent in some of my work), becoming stronger. I thought as often of Stonehenge as of Brancusi, of Lascaux and Altamira as well as of Guernica, of Vikings rather than the Parisians or New Yorkers.

“At any rate, the winter of 1975/1976 was devoted to more barbaric and megalithic images, more than perhaps at any time since I first stumbled on the Spanish Elegy theme.”

The paintings of 1975 and 1976 are characterised by a ‘threatening presence’ that emerges from Goya’s late picture with the dog howling from the hill, as does Motherwell’s Spanish Painting with the Face of a Dog. In their magnitude, primordial vision, menace, as well as their sensuous surface, they rank among Motherwell’s most important works.

Visitors to Frieze Masters and the Bernard Jacobson Gallery stand will undoubtedly be impressed by this striking example.

Also exhibiting at Frieze Masters will be Moretti Fine Art and Tomasso Brothers.