• M
  • Robert Motherwell
In Black and White
© Dedalus Foundation, Inc/DACS, London/VAGA, New York 2006

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In Black and White Dated 1960
Although only twenty-one years old and still at University in California when the Spanish Civil War broke out, Motherwell was deeply affected by reports of the terrible violence. This work is related to the long series of works entitled ‘Elegy for the Spanish Republic’, which the artist began in the late 1940s and continued over three decades. Using predominantly black and white, the paintings represent life, death and injustice. Motherwell said of the series, ‘I discovered Black as one of my subjects – and with the black, the contrasting white, a sense of life and death which to me is quite Spanish. They are essentially the Spanish black of death contrasted with the dazzle of a Matisse-like sunlight’.

Glossary Open

Spanish Civil War

A war in Spain that began following an uprising in Morocco in 1936. It was fought between the Republicans and the Nationalists, led by General Franco, who declared victory in 1939, and remained as head of state until his death in 1975. The bombing of the town of Guernica on 26 April 1937 was the subject of a major painting by Pablo Picasso.

Spanish Civil War


  • Acc. No. GMA 1081
  • Medium Gouache and pencil on paper
  • Size 58.10 x 73.60 cm (framed: 114.80 x 84.00 x 2.50 cm)
  • Credit Purchased 1968