“As Fast as the Mind Itself” offers fresh evidence that it was in Abstract Expressionism that Surrealism reached its ultimate realization. Usually considered one of the most cerebral of the Abstract Expressionists, Robert Motherwell used his drawings to move beyond Surrealism’s totemic fetishes and murky explorations of the subconscious toward a clarity and suppleness that brings together the accidental and the intentional with equanimity and verve.

Motherwell (1915–91) and the Menil have a long history: the museum’s founders John and Dominique de Menil visited Motherwell’s studio in 1952 and talked about their shared admiration of the Surrealist Max Ernst; two Motherwells later entered the collection, in 1969 and 1974. In fact, Motherwell and Ernst were good friends, so much so that Ernst gave the younger artist a plaster cast of his seminal 1944...


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