Mark Rothko: Reflection

Mark Rothko: ReflectionImage courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts

Mark Rothko: Reflection
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
From September 24, 2017 to September 03, 2018

In a career that spanned five decades, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) created some of the 20th century’s most evocative and iconic masterpieces. From September 24 2017, 11 major works by the artist travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, for an immersive exhibition that invites visitors to become enveloped by Rothko’s large-scale paintings and encounter them as he had originally intended-to experience something more intimate and awe-inspiring than simply viewing.

Mark Rothko: ReflectionImage courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts

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Mark Rothko: Reflection is the first focused display of the artist’s works at the MFA, showcasing the full sweep of his career – from early surrealist compositions; to the luminous, colorful canvases of his maturity; to the large, enigmatic “black paintings” made late in his life. Together, they trace the development of Rothko’s singular artistic vision and his quest to create works that produce emotional, even spiritual, responses.

Mark Rothko: ReflectionImage courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts

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The exhibition features a juxtaposition of Thru the Window (1938–39), an early Rothko painting on public view in the U.S. for the first time, and Artist in his Studio (about 1628), a masterpiece by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669) from the MFA’s collection – both portraits of artists reflecting on the act of painting. Contrary to notions that Rothko’s works represented a dramatic break from the past, the side-by-side comparison underscores the modern artist’s view of his own paintings as part of a much longer tradition, rooted in his deep appreciation for the Old Masters. Mark Rothko: Reflection is on view in the John F. Cogan, Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Gallery.

Mark Rothko: ReflectionImage courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts

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Rothko’s earliest works included cityscapes, landscapes, nudes and portraits. In Thru the Window (1938–39), he places himself—identified by his high forehead and thick, curly hair – on the threshold of a window facing the viewer, one hand resting on the ledge. He gazes onto an architectural space containing two symbols of his trade: a clothed model to his right and a bright red easel and canvas to his left. The position of the easel and canvas on the right side of the composition, as well as its visual prominence in the painting, recalls Rembrandt’s Artist in his Studio (about 1628).

more. www.mfa.org

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