Mark Rothko (1903-70) is widely celebrated as one of the greatest painters of the twentieth century. His paintings are famed for their visual intensity and the personal response they elicit from the viewer. Shortly before his death, Rothko donated nine large-scale works to Tate on condition that they would always be displayed together, in their own space, separate from the works of other artists.
The paintings in Tate's iconic 'Rothko Room' form part of a larger series known as The Seagram Murals, originally commissioned for The Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan. In this unique exhibition, Tate is reuniting their own group of murals with their counterparts from the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art, Japan and the National Gallery of Art, Washington. Liberated from the straitjacket of the myths surrounding their genesis, they can finally be seen as works in their own right, central to a reconsideration of Rothko's late career.
This book looks beyond the customary biographical reading of Rothko's late work and calls for a major reassessment of the final decade of his career. Leading international academics, including Briony Fer, David Anfam and Morgan Thomas, explore the late series, including the so-called Black-Form paintings, his large-scale works on paper and the Black on Gray paintings, challenging the standard presentation of Rothko as a painter focused primarily on the effect of colour. Much has been made of the almost metaphysical quality of Rothko's art. New research by an international team of experts will reveal previously unknown detail about his working practice to reconsider his contribution to the history of painting in the late 1950s and 60s. Three timelines provide a framework for viewing Rothko's career alongside international developments in art and politics from 1958-1970.