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Untitled by Mark Rothko

Untitled (1955)
By Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Oil on Canvas
Signed and dated ‘MARK ROTHKO 1955’ on the reverse
Size: 175.8 x 157 centimetres (69.25 x 61.75 inches)
Estimated price: Available on request

The renowned Post-War artist, Mark Rothko (1903-1970), was a great master of colour, marrying tones and hues together with seamless dexterity. The artist himself, however, was deeply reticent about being characterised as a colourist, feeling instead that colour should be, “merely an instrument”. Rothko once explained, “I’m interested only in expressing the basic human emotions – tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. And the fact that a lot of people breakdown and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions.”

Untitled is a majestic, large-scale painting executed in 1955 at the height of Mark Rothko’s celebrated classic period, the year after the artist’s breakthrough exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. It belongs to a series of works, the majority of which are now held in major international museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. Rendered in a palette of brilliant red vermillion, burnt ochre and white, this painting radiates warmth from the canvas. Each shape is rendered with a wealth of expressive brushstrokes, the edges disintegrating into a flurry of gestures created by the tip of his brush.

First published on February 12, 2012, in the Adbuzzzz Section of the DAWN National Advertiser.