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Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Art History

First Advisor

Dr. Howard Risatti


This study is an examination of the influence of Oriental (specifically Chinese and Japanese) art and ideas on Robert Motherwell's work. To a certain extent, it is also an effort to balance previous interpretations that have mainly focused on the influence of Surrealists, Mondrian, and Picasso and to shed new light on the understanding of Motherwell's art. Consideration is given to the historical background of Motherwell's interest in Oriental art and ideas as well as the relation between this interest and his major artistic concerns. Among other things, the thesis investigates the influence of Oriental concept of the void on Motherwell's spatial conception, especially in the sense of using empty space. It also gives an account of the influence of Oriental calligraphy and ink painting on Motherwell's work in terms of pictorial languages and physical action.


Part of Retrospective ETD Collection, restricted to VCU only.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008