30 Oct 2017
Mark Rothko: Reflection
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Reviewed by Franklin Einspruch
The MFA has mounted a pleasurable if not groundbreaking Rothko show, dominated by the middle-period multiforms and the mature color-field works. They are on loan from the National Gallery of Art, and thus a welcome opportunity for us New Englanders to spend some time with the D.C. Rothkos.
"Reflection" has a curious inclusion, a diminutive and bonkers self-portrait from 1938. The artist looks in on a surrealist interior with an undersized woman and an even more undersized easel. He was trying, and failing, to be de Chirico. Its pairing with the MFA's presumed self-portrait of Rembrandt doesn't flatter Rothko.
But the mature works seem all the more mature for it. The multiforms are striking, especially No. 9 from 1948, in which radiant puzzle pieces assemble into a sultry composition of orange and vermilion. This segues naturally to one of the first color-fields from '49, a work made prior to the artist's growing monomania about red and black and thus retaining some joy.
|Exhibition||Mark Rothko: Reflection link|
|Start date||24 Sep 2017|
|End date||01 Jul 2018|
|Presenter||Museum of Fine Arts, Boston link|
|Venue||465 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA, USA map|
|Image||Mark Rothko, No. 9, 1948, oil and mixed media on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., © 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston|
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