Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pulp Motherwell

Every female image represented here was originally conceived by commercial artist Robert McGinnis as a painting. The paintings were then reproduced on paperback covers during the 1960s.

But what about the background in the first one, the paperback cover above? Those rough black strokes bounded by a horizontal rectangle, why do they look so familiar?

Can it be?

Robert Motherwell?

Abstract Expressionism?

Elegy to the Spanish Republic?

Motherwell created about 150 huge canvases on this theme. Their genesis occurred, "in 1937 in San Francisco, where [Motherwell] heard André Malraux speak at a rally on the Spanish Civil War. There, Motherwell found a great moral issue that would drive his work for years. In his words, it was the realization "that the world could, after all, regress." His Elegies to the Spanish Republic have been a vehicle to express what Motherwell has called "a funeral song for something one cared about" in abstract, visual terms."

The specific version appropriated by Robert McGinnis for his paperback was painted by Robert Motherwell in 1961 and entered the collection of the Metropolitan Museum in 1965.

"How about it, Margo" he said. McGinnis (above, in chaste mode) illustrating a story for the Saturday Evening Post in 1960.

Source here.