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Estate of Robert Motherwell Worth More Than $25 Million

July 30, 1991

GREENWICH, Conn. (AP) _ Artist Robert Motherwell’s $25 million estate will be used to turn his home and studio into a museum, and more than 1,000 of his paintings will be donated to museums, a foundation official said.

Motherwell, who helped develop abstract expressionism, died July 16 in Provincetown, Mass., at age 76. He had lived in Greenwich since 1970.

The artist left his 4-acre residence and an art studio to the Dedalus Foundation, said Richard Rubin, co-executor of the estate with Motherwell’s wife, Renate Ponsold Motherwell.

The foundation will turn the property into a private museum open to the public on a limited basis, Rubin said.

Most of the artworks will go to museums around the world.

″He wanted his work to go to the public and not into private collections, not sold off over 20 to 30 years for the benefit of the estate,″ Rubin said. ″He wanted to make major gifts to public institutions.″

Rubin said the foundation would transform Motherwell’s studio into a ″working museum″ and study center for artists, scholars and other interested people.

″We’re planning to keep his studio as close to a working studio as it was the day he died,″ Rubin said. ″All his books, articles, painting materials and supplies will be there.″

Motherwell also made ″substantial cash bequests″ and gifts of art to his wife, two daughters and several longtime employees, Rubin said.

Along with Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and others, Motherwell helped shape the abstract expressionist movement after World War II. It encouraged artists to reject realism and paint from their unconscious feelings. The idea of creating spontaneously from the unconscious became a hallmark of modern art.

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