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Gift ideas -- art, literature, books for children; Motherwell from '40s to '80s; Robert Motherwell, text by H. H. Arnason, introduction by Dore Ashton, interview by Barbaralee Diamonstein. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 250 pp. $75.

This is an excellent book about a first-rate Abstract Expressionist artist that traces his development from the early 1940s to the present. It does so in words that are clear and insightful and in pictures that beautifully capture the color, texture, and impact of his art. I most particularly recommend this book to all who have difficulty with Motherwell's work and see him as nothing but a dauber and splasher of black paint. If this in-depth study of Motherwell and his art doesn't begin to convince such a person that he is a major 20th-century painter, I doubt anything will.

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