Robert Motherwell Scrapbooks

Descriptive Summary

Title: Robert Motherwell Archive: Scrapbooks

Creator: Robert Motherwell and his studio

Date: The inclusive dates of the collection are 1946-2000, bulk dates 1947-1990.

Extent: Four linear feet of records.
Comprised of 11 boxes:
Eight (8) 10" x 5" x 15.5" boxes
One (1) 10" x 2.5" x 15.5" box
Two (2) 20.5" x 16" x 3.5" boxes

Repository: Dedalus Foundation, Inc.
254 36th Street, Suite 2-BE
Brooklyn, New York 11232

Microfilm Copy: The Museum of Modern Art
Museum Archives
11 West 53 Street
New York, NY 10019

Administrative Information

Processing Information
Processed 2004, by Eve Lambert, Dedalus Fellow, under the direction of Michelle Elligott, Museum Archivist.

The Robert Motherwell Scrapbooks consist of eight 5" document boxes, one 2.5" document box, and 2 20.5" x 16" x 3.5" boxes for a total of 4 linear feet. Containing material with inclusive dates of 1946 - 2000, the Scrapbooks document Motherwell's long artistic career. The majority of the Scrapbooks consist of exhibition invitations, brochures, catalogues, and reviews and articles by such noted art critics as John Canaday, Dore Ashton, Hilton Kramer, Peter Schjeldahl, John Russell, Clement Greenberg, Emily Genauer, and Grace Glueck. Motherwell's name is usually underlined or circled within these documents. There is an emphasis on Motherwell's transition from painting to collage-making, and other themes include Motherwell's interest in teaching and literature, his involvement with politics and activism, and his achievements and innovations as an artist. The majority of the collection centers on the middle years, from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

The Robert Motherwell Scrapbooks were originally housed in twenty-two black binders and two bound Scrapbooks. The binders contained plastic sleeves backed by acidic black paper into which documents had been slipped. Both the plastic and the black paper were hastening the deterioration of the archival material so for the purposes of preservation and accessibility the documents were removed from their original housing and placed in acid-free archival folders which were then housed in archival document boxes. The records are in good condition for the most part. Clippings have often been photocopied, in which case several versions of a single article can exist within the collection. Some clippings are glued to a backing of acidic black paper, and glue has started to show through. In a few places the original documents show signs of deterioration.

The material from the Scrapbooks have been arranged chronologically maintaining their original order, except for two Scrapbooks that appear at the end of the collection. These last two Scrapbooks were created by Motherwell himself and were maintained in their original physical format because the deterioration of the material was minimal and the careful composition of items on the page reflects Motherwell's interest in collage. Occasionally an article will appear within a Scrapbook that does not match the date range of that Scrapbook but in the interest of original order the documents have not been re-arranged.