Have One Like This?


Robert Motherwell

American (1915-1991)
Gauloises Bleues (Yellow with Black Square) (1971)


Price Realized: $1,500
Includes Buyer’s Premium

Have One Like This?

aquatint and line-cut on Auvergne a la Main Richard de Bas handmade paper
22 3/4 x 15 1/2 inches
signed, from an edition of 35


very good condition, no apparent issues

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About The Work

Workshop chop mark, lower left. Signed “R. Motherwell” and numbered “Printer’s Proof”, lower right in pencil; publisher’s seal embossed, lower left. Printed by Donn Steward, New York Published by Universal Limited Art Editions, New York

Catalogue Raisonne Number: Engberg & Banach 99. 100 Hand signed and annotated by the artist. Proofs include 6 AP, 3 HC, 1 PP, and a number of unrecorded TP and WP prints.

Literature: Belknap, Dorothy & Terenzio, Stephanie (2009) The Prints of Robert Motherwell. New York, New York: Hudson Hills Press. Engberg, Siri & Banach, Joan (2003) Robert Motherwell: The Complete Prints 1940-1991: Catalogue Raisonne. New York, New York: Hudson Hills Press. Flam, Jack D., Beudert, Monique & Wells, Jennifer (1995) The PaineWebber Art Collection. New York, New York: Rizzoli. Rhode Island School of Design (1973). Selection III: Contemporary Graphics from the Museum’s Collection, 59(6). Sparks, Ester (1989) Universal Limited Art Editions: A History and Catalogue, the First Twenty-Five Years. Chicago, Illinois: Art Institute of Chicago.

Gauloises, “Gaul women” in French (“cigarette” is feminine in French), is a brand of cigarette of French manufacture. It is produced by the company Imperial Tobacco following their acquisition of Altadis in January 2008 in most countries, but produced and sold by Reemtsma in Germany.

In March 1954 SEITA launched the “Gauloise Disque Bleu” brand, with CEO Pierre Grimanelli proud of the new packaging that would, he argued, increase sales. The brand has been linked to high-status and inspirational figures representing the worlds of art and the intellectual elite, including Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Baudrillard, Jim Morrison, Pablo Picasso and many more. Robert Motherwell used Gauloises packets and cartons in many collages, including an extensive series with the packets surrounded by bright red acrylic paint, often with incised lines in the painted areas. In the introduction to his 2015 book Robert Motherwell, The Making of an American Giant, gallery owner Bernard Jacobson says, “Motherwell smoked Lucky Strikes, but in his collage life he smokes Gauloises, around whose blue packets he now organises one composition after another, ‘exotic to me precisely because in the normal course of things I don’t smoke French cigarettes’.” And by incorporating Gauloises packets he makes deft and condensed allusion to “French blue”: to the Mediterranean and the palette of Matisse . . . to the smoke coiling up in a Cubist assemblage.”

Excerpt from the Museum of Modern Art, New York’s The Painter and the Printer: Robert Motherwell’s Graphics Press Release: “Motherwell, best known for his work in painting and collage, turned to printmaking, in part, to escape the solitude of the studio. His investigation of the medium soon led to a deeper involvement, as he developed an understanding of its complexities. His respect for the printers, ‘who selflessly and sensitively become the artist’s alter ego, seeing through the artist’s own eyes,’ is limitless. And he delights as much in the materials themselves as in the challenges of ‘collaborative art.’ Printmaking has, for Motherwell, a certain freshness, directness and economy of means not to be found in most other mediums. Finally, Motherwell enjoys printmaking’s dual personality. As he has said, ‘though prints, in being multiples, are potentially the most public of an artist’s expression, in my case I had always regarded them as the most private – not only because prints are generally intimate in scale and technique, but also making them tended to be more sportif than my work in collage and painting.”

Excerpt from Universal Limited Art Editions: A Tribute to Tatyana Grosman on aquatint: “. . . the master printer in the engraving workshop at Mrs. Grosman ‘s, Donn Steward, introduced me to aquatint. . . . Over four years, Steward’s sensitivity of technical response to my intentions, as well as suggestions and even anticipations (so closely did we work together) was sustained in a way that I would not have thought possible. In the midst of this technological era, one of my cherished experiences has been to work with a great and meticulous craftsman. . . .”


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