Home Arts The Tate lends the entire Rothko room for the Paris blockbuster

The Tate lends the entire Rothko room for the Paris blockbuster

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The Tate in London lends nine Seagram murals by Mark Rothko — the gallery’s entire Rothko room — at a major retrospective in France dedicated to the late Abstract Expressionist artist at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris (October 18-April 2, 2024).

The murals were commissioned in 1958 for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building. But Rothko backed out of the project, saying the restaurant was “a place where New York’s wealthiest bastards will come to feed and show off.”

The room where the Rothkos were at the Tate Modern has hosted an exhibition by Cy Twombly in recent years and is set to reopen as an exhibition of works by Joan Mitchell on loan from the Louis Vuitton Foundation.

“The set of nine works shown here – the Rothko Room at the Tate and in the configuration the artist intended – was originally commissioned for a dining room designed by Philip Johnson in a building by Mies van der Rohe,” explains the co-curator of the exhibition, Suzanne Pagé, in a press release.

The extensive Paris exhibition will be co-curated by Christopher Rothko, the artist’s son, and will include more than 115 works drawn from collections such as the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the Menil Collection in Houston, Texas, and the Fondation Beyeler in Basel.

A press release from the gallery specifies that the exhibition will be “presented chronologically in all the spaces of the Foundation; the exhibition traces the artist’s entire career from his early figurative paintings to the abstract works for which he is best known today”.

The only self-portrait of the artist dating from 1936, taken from the collection of Christopher Rothko, will open the exhibition. Paintings made in the 1930s depicting urban landscapes such as the New York subway followed later.

Later works from the 1940s reflected Rothko’s progression towards abstraction via his Multifaceted works in which “Rothko applied thin washes of paint to the canvas to create irregular shapes that ebb and flow on the picture plane”, according to the website of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Pagé adds: “At the heart of the exhibition, abstract works from the so-called ‘classic’ period, from the end of the 1940s, in which a unique colorist asserts himself in the radiant and mysterious brilliance of the color worn incandescent. This period, his best known, will be particularly well represented here by some seventy works, including two exceptional sets, one from the Phillips Collection in Washington DC, and the Seagram murals by Tate.

Works by Alberto Giacometti will be exhibited alongside Rothko’s last pieces, bringing to life an unrealized Unesco commission planned for his building in Paris in 1967. Unesco offered to show Giacometti’s work The walking man alongside Rothko black and gray series (1969-70). “Resonating with Giacometti’s sculptures, they impart a density and solemnity as well as a tension in which the emotion sought by Rothko seems to reappear in a new form,” writes Pagé.

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is known for its blockbusters filled with exceptional loans like the current exhibition Basquiat x Warhol: Painting with four hands (until August 28).

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