Abstract Expressionist artist Robert Motherwell was born in Aberdeen in Washington State and raised in San Francisco. In 1932 he began studying art at Stanford University, California, but finding the department uninspiring he changed course to major in philosophy. Motherwell later studied art history in New York from 1940, where he became friends with some of the Surrealist artists who had left Europe due to the war, including Duchamp, Ernst, Matta and Breton. Like Jackson Pollock, Motherwell was encouraged to experiment with automatism by his contact with the Surrealists. Although best known for his large abstract paintings which were often painted in series, including ‘Elegy to the Spanish Republic’ and ‘Open’, Motherwell also made collages.