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Mark Rothko (1903-70), a leading figure in the Abstract Expressionist movement, is widely seen as one of the greatest painters of the 20th century. His paintings are famed for the intense, emotional responses they elicit from viewers. Shortly before his death, he donated nine large-scale works to Tate on the condition that they would always hang together, in their own space, separate from the work of other artists. This is how "The Rothko Room", which in its various incarnations has been one of the highlights of Tate's collection ever since, was born.These paintings form part of a larger series known as "The Seagram Murals", originally intended for the Four Seasons restaurant in Manhattan. Rothko famously withdrew from this commission, irritated, according to legend, that his paintings would be lowered to the status of wallpaper for rich diners. So far the question has never been asked: if the restaurant had space for 10 paintings, why did Rothko paint 30 that clearly belong to the same series? Now Tate is reuniting their own Seagram paintings with paintings from the Kawamura Museum in Japan and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Liberated from the straightjacket of their legendary status, they can finally be seen as works in their own right, central to a reconsideration of Rothko's late career.This book intends to look beyond the myths surrounding Rothko and calls for a major reassessment of his later works. Leading international critics, including Bryony Fer, David Anfam and Morgan Thomas, explore the late series, including the "Black on Grey Paintings", as well as large-scale works on paper from the Rothko family private collection, challenging the standard presentation of Rothko as a painter focused primarily on the effect of colour. Much has been made of the almost mystical 'aura' of Rothko's paintings. New research by an international team of experts will reveal previously unknown detail about their manufacture and examine the effect of time on their appearance today. Three timelines will provide a framework for viewing Rothko's career alongside development in American art and politics, from 1958-1970.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781854377883
ISBN-10: 1854377884
Format: Hardback
(290mm x 256mm x 33mm)
Pages: 256
Imprint: Tate Publishing
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Oct-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Achim Borchardt-Hume

Achim Borchardt-Hume is curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Tate Modern in London.

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