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Displaying items by tag: mark rothko: the decisive decade 19401950

Twenty-seven early Mark Rothko (1903-1970) works are currently on view at the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio as part of the exhibition Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade, 1940-1950. The formative paintings are on loan from the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., which boasts a strong Rothko collection of nearly 300 works.

Rothko’s works from the early 1940s are often overlooked and were even omitted from a Rothko retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in 1961. The exclusion set the tone for how people interpret Rothko’s oeuvre, often deeming his earlier works as less significant than his later works. Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade aims to dispel that notion.

The paintings on view, many of which are on paper, chart Rothko’s artistic evolution from vaguely figurative to purely abstract. Known for his layered canvases featuring often-rectangular blocks of color, Rothko explored various influences before developing his well-known signature style. The Decisive Decade illustrates Rothko’s early experimentation with shape, space and color and includes works by Arshile Gorky (1904-1948), Robert Motherwell (1915-1951), and Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) that share similar visual and conceptual characteristics with Rothko’s paintings.    

Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade will be on view at the Columbus Museum of Art through May 26, 2013.

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