Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade
October 25, 2013 - February 9, 2014
No. 8, 1949
Oil and mixed media on canvas
90 x 66 in.
The National Gallery of Art, Washington
Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.147
©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko /Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York Image courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington
The 1940s was a decade of tremendous change for the world, for Western art, for New York City’s place in the art world and for Mark Rothko (1903-1970). The most important result was the formation of what became known as The New York School, a collection of artists working in a nexus of artistic approaches, the best known of which were Gesturalism, or Abstract Expressionism and Color Field. What most members of this group shared was a faith in the power of art effectively to address the pressing historical problems of their era writ large in the movies, news reports, and photographs of the war and its uncertain aftermath.
One of the major members of the New York School was Mark Rothko, the most important of the School’s Color Field wing. For Rothko, like many of his colleagues, the 1940s was the critical decade for his development. Mark Rothko in the 1940s is an examination into the artistic maturation—a decade of searching and rapid evolution-- of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century that deserves not only closer attention but also a re-evaluation.
Mark Rothko in the 1940s will be the first exhibition and catalogue to reevaluate this work in the context of Rothko’s thoughts about art from the period. Mark Rothko in the 1940s will bring to light many works not seen before by scholars or the public and highlight a period of his career that is often overlooked.
Mark Rothko in the 1940s: The Decisive Decade is organized by the Arkansas Arts Center, the Columbia Museum of art, the Columbus Museum of Art and the Denver Art Museum, in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art, Washington. The exhibition is funded in part by the Dedalus Foundation and is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. It is sponsored locally by Harriet and Warren Stephens; Chucki and Curt Bradbury; The Brown Foundation, Inc. of Houston; Mary Ellen and Jason Vangilder and the Capital Hotel.