Immersive Display of 11 Mark Rothko Paintings on View at
The Museum of Fine Arts Boston
Avenue of the Arts
465 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Major Loans from National Gallery of Art, Washington, Make New England Debut
BOSTON (September 8, 2017)—In a career that spanned five decades, Mark Rothko (1903–1970) created some of the 20th century’s most evocative and iconic masterpieces. “A painting is not a picture of an experience,” he once remarked; “it is an experience.” This fall, 11 major works by the artist travel to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, for an immersive exhibition that invites visitors to become enveloped by Rothko’s large-scale paintings and encounter them as he had originally intended—to experience something more intimate and awe-inspiring than simply viewing. Mark Rothko: Reflection, on view from September 24, 2017 through July 1, 2018, is the first focused display of the artist’s works at the MFA, showcasing the full sweep of his career—from early surrealist compositions; to the luminous, colorful canvases of his maturity; to the large, enigmatic “black paintings” made late in his life. Together, they trace the development of Rothko’s singular artistic vision and his quest to create works that produce emotional, even spiritual, responses. Additionally, the exhibition features a juxtaposition of Thru the Window (1938–39), an early Rothko painting on public view in the U.S. for the first time, and Artist in his Studio (about 1628), a masterpiece by Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn (1606–1669) from the MFA’s collection—both portraits of artists reflecting on the act of painting. Contrary to notions that Rothko’s works represented a dramatic break from the past, the side-by-side comparison underscores the modern artist’s view of his own paintings as part of a much longer tradition, rooted in his deep appreciation for the Old Masters. Mark Rothko: Reflection is on view in the John F. Cogan, Jr. and Mary L. Cornille Gallery. Presented with generous support from the Robert and Jane Burke Fund for Exhibitions. Additional support provided by an anonymous foundation and The Bruce and Laura Monrad Fund for Exhibitions.
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.