An immersive display of 11 masterpieces by Mark Rothko (1903–1970), on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, invites visitors to contemplate the power of art to shape human experience. The installation opens with Rothko’s early painting Thru the Window (1938), on public view in the US for the first time, and Artist in his Studio (about 1628) by Rembrandt—portraits of artists reflecting on the act of painting. Contrary to notions that Rothko’s work represented a dramatic break from past traditions, the side-by-side comparison positions him within the broader history of Western art. The exhibition’s other Rothko paintings showcase the full sweep of his career—from early surrealist work to multiform compositions to classic color field paintings—and trace his exploration of the expressive potential of color. Enveloped by the large-scale paintings in an intimate setting, viewers can experience Rothko’s work as the artist had originally intended.
(Photo: Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1955, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art. © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.)