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Mark Rothko exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation


For the first time since 1999, France is hosting a retrospective devoted to Mark Rothko (1903-1970), an emblematic figure of contemporary art. Presented at the Foundation from October 18, 2023, this exceptional exhibition brings together nearly 115 works from the most prestigious international collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Tate Gallery in London and the artist's family. p>

Date: Expo from October 18, 2023 to April 2, 2024

Desires: Painting, modern, contemporary art, retrospective.

Deployed throughout the Foundation's spaces, the exhibition offers a chronological journey retracing the entire career of Mark Rothko, from his first figurative paintings to the abstraction that characterizes his work today. Visitors will have the opportunity to delve into Rothko's artistic universe, guided by the artist's famous quote: "I became a painter because I wanted to elevate painting to be as poignant as music and poetry . »

Mark Rothko Exhibition
Mark Rothko at the Louis Vuitton Foundation

The exhibition begins with intimate scenes and urban landscapes, such as representations of the New York subway, which dominated in the 1930s. Gradually, these scenes give way to a repertoire inspired by ancient myths and surrealism, through which Rothko expresses the tragic dimension of the human condition during war.From 1946, Mark Rothko made a decisive turn towards abstraction, marked by the Multiforms period, where suspended chromatic masses tend to balance. Over time, their number diminished and the spatial organization of his paintings quickly evolved towards his so-called "classic" works of the 1950s. These works are characterized by the superposition of rectangular shapes following a binary or ternary rhythm, and are marked by yellow, red, ocher, orange tones, as well as shades of blue and white.A highlight of the exhibition is the exceptional presentation of the series of nine murals commissioned from Rothko in 1958 for the Four Seasons restaurant in the Seagram Building in New York, designed by Philip Johnson. Ultimately, the artist decided to keep this entire series. These works, in a deep red, occupy a dedicated room within the Tate Gallery collections. Additionally, the Phillips Collection also dedicated a permanent room to Rothko in 1960, presented here for the first time.During the 1960s, Mark Rothko responded to new commissions, including the famous Rothko Chapel in Houston, commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil. Inaugurated in 1971, this chapel represents a major achievement by the artist.

Four Seasons Rothko
Four Seasons Rothko

Although, from the end of the 1950s, Rothko favored dark tones and muted contrasts, he never completely abandoned his palette of bright colors. Paintings from 1967 as well as his very last painting, which remained unfinished in his studio, bear witness to this persistence. Even the Black and Gray series of 1969-1970 cannot be reduced to a simplistic interpretation associating gray and black with depression and suicide.Rothko's works are presented in the highest room of the building designed by Frank Gehry, alongside the great figures of Alberto Giacometti, creating an environment close to that imagined by Rothko for a UNESCO commission which was never been materialized.The permanence of Rothko's questions, his desire to establish a silent dialogue with the viewer and his refusal to be perceived as a simple "colorist" allow through this exhibition to rediscover his work in all its plurality.

Rothko Vuitton
Rothko Vuitton

The exhibition was organized by Suzanne Pagé and Christopher Rothko, in collaboration with François Michaud, Ludovic Delalande, Claudia Buizza, Magdalena Gemra and Cordélia de Brosses.


World-renowned artist Mark Rothko continues to exert a powerful influence on contemporary art lovers. But what makes us so captivated by his work? Let's dive into the reasons for this deep attraction to Rothko.We are immediately struck by the emotional intensity of his works. The vast fields of color, overlapping rectangular shapes and vibrant shades create a striking visual experience. The colors seem to vibrate and evoke complex feelings, ranging from serenity to melancholy to wonder.

The spiritual dimension of Rothko's art is also a source of attraction. His paintings invite contemplation and inner reflection. They transport us to a timeless space where we can connect to something bigger than ourselves. The refined compositions and subtle plays of light reinforce this feeling of transcendence.Rothko himself explains his artistic approach by stating: “I became a painter because I wanted to elevate painting to be as poignant as music and poetry. » This aspiration to create a profound aesthetic and emotional experience resonates within us and touches us at the deepest level of our being.Furthermore, Rothko's work is universal. His paintings are not limited by specific figurative references, thus allowing a personal and free interpretation. Everyone can find their own meaning in these abstract paintings, which strengthens the intimate bond between artist and viewer.Finally, there is no doubt about the authenticity of Rothko's art. His sincere artistic commitment shines through in every brushstroke. His exploration of human emotions, the human condition and spirituality leaves no one indifferent. Rothko pushes us to feel and think, creating a profound and personal artistic experience.This is why we are so drawn to Mark Rothko. His ability to arouse intense emotions, invite contemplation and create an inner dialogue make him an artist who continues to captivate and inspire generations of art lovers.

Date: Expo from October 18, 2023 to April 2, 2024

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