Robert Motherwell was a pioneer in American art and a member of the radical group known as the Abstract Expressionists. He spent some of his earlier years studying painting at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco before getting his Catchelors at Stanford in Philosophy and a year of PhD at Stanford. This philosophical training taught Motherwell to view abstraction as the process of removing the nonessential and allowing the necessary to remain. He took this ideology and transferred it to his artistic practice. In 1940, he moved to New York City to pursue art history at Columbia and work in the studio of surrealist artist Kurt Seligmann. Working alongside each other, they wanted to discover the deeper meanings underlying what you physically see in art and show that in their pieces.