Made shortly before Robert Motherwell's death in 1991, this film is an exploration of the Abstract Expressionist movement and a portrait of one of its last survivors.
Having come to New York in the early 1940s, Motherwell found himself on the battleground of American art. He and a group of painters set out to change the face of American painting.
The film charts this epic battle led by Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko, Franz Kline and Robert Motherwell, who endeavored to make American painting equal to painting elsewhere and, in the process, shifted the center of modern art from Paris to New York. The film contains archive footage and photographs of the artists, of Greenwich Village where they lived, of the events which influenced their lives - World War II, the WPA, the Spanish Civil War. Also included are interviews with art critic Clement Greenberg, art historian William Rubin, sculptor and founder of The Eight Street Club, Philip Pavia, Surrealist Robert Matta, artist Larry Rivers, art historian and curator Henry Geldzahler, gallery owner Sidney Janis, and art historian Jack Flam.
Interwoven throughout the documentary is film of Motherwell painting in his Greenwich studio, creating a collage in Provincetown and preparing for a major retrospective of his work at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Director: Catherine Tatge