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"Rue de la Chaise," 1940, gouache and ink on paperboard, 14 3/4 x 9 1/2 inches (37.5 x 24.1 cm)
September 1938-June 1939

Motherwell moves to Paris with the intention of working on his thesis, but he spends little time on it, except to assemble a substantial library on Romanticism in general and Delacroix in particular.

He enrolls in the AcadŽémie Julian but finds that academic art training does not suit him.

In November, he spends several weeks overseeing the set design for a production at the American Little Theater and the experience encourages him to rent a studio on the rue Visconti and to begin painting regularly. He has a small solo exhibition at the Raymond Duncan Gallery in June 1939.

In June, Motherwell's father insists that he return to the United States because of the approaching war. Motherwell's thesis on Delacroix, along with his translation of Paul Signac's D'Eugène Delacroix au Néo-Impressionnisme, are lost in transit. When he returns to Harvard in early July, Prall offers him a position as his teaching assistant, but Motherwell turns it down in order to pursue his new commitment to painting.