oil on canvas
United States
Overall: 79 1/2 × 69 1/4 in. (201.93 × 175.9 cm)

“A painting is not a picture of an experience; it is an experience.” —Mark Rothko

Rothko used abstraction and expressive power of color to evoke a range of human emotions. His paintings vary from smaller works to monumental canvases that envelop the viewer with expansive fields of luminous color.

By 1949 Rothko had eliminated recognizable objects from his work and had developed his signature composition: soft-edged rectangular shapes hovering above one another. These self-imposed limitations freed him to explore rich colors that produced remarkable effects ranging from the spectacular and ecstatic to the somber and austere.

In a 1958 lecture, Rothko listed seven ingredients essential to his paintings, among them “a clear preoccupation with death.” During the 1960s, when he painted Untitled, Rothko’s work became increasingly dark. Some regard his comments and the changes in his work as reflecting his deepening depression, while others view them as exploring the mystery and subtlety of light and darkness.

signed on reverse, upper left: "Mark Rothko 1960"
Gift of Sydney and Frances Lewis
Rothko: The Dark Paintings, PACE Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, NYC, November 4, 2016 – January 7, 2017

Mark Rothko: The Late Years, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA, November 13, 1993 – March 13, 1994

Contemporary Art, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, NY, May 7 – 12, 1977

Rothko, Musee National d'art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, March 23 – May 8, 1972
Estate of the artist; (Marlborough A.G. Liechtenstein/Marlborough Galerie, Zurich) by 1970. [1] (Sotheby's Parke Bernet, Inc., New York) by 1977; [2] Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Sydney and Frances Lewis, Virginia in May of 1977; Gift to Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in December of 1985.

[1] See David Anfam, Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas Catalogue Raisonne (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998): 536.

[2] Lot #423, sale #3988, May 13, 1977. Listed as propoerty of various owners. Previous owner's name not disclosed. See auction catalogue.

©artist or artist’s estate

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