Art review: Mark Rothko – The Late Series
Tate Modern, Bankside, London, SE1- map
Rating: **** (out of 5)
Review by: Alexa Williamson
A Russian emigree, who came to America in 1913, he studied at Yale, but dropped out, he then moved to New York for a while and studied under Max Weber, but his ‘signature period’ and most famous pieces didn’t emerge until 1959 – the era that this exhibition covers.
Rothko is famous for his large ‘colour field’ pieces – that bring together ‘different variations on a theme’ – ie rectangular canvases painted in dark tones of magenta, blue, green, black, reds and other shades. This exhibition is gorgeous as there are many of these canvases on show and the tones are soothing and pleasantly overpowering.
Working in gouaches, oils, crayon and watercolour the paintings are from 1958 and 59 mainly, followed by some other pieces from 10 years later done in browns and blacks with scratchy brushstrokes. The differences 10 years later are interesting as he has gone from seemless colour with no brushstrokes to the more marked ones.
This exhibit is indeed eye candy and very relaxing and intriguing to see the gorgeous colours up close. An interesting part of Rothko’s life and career, it marks an amazing existence that ended tragically when he committed suicide in 1970, following a ruptured aorta two years earlier.
Mark Rothko exhibition (Official site)