Thursday, October 11, 2012

Mark Rothko's Black and Gray

Mark Rothko's Black on Gray paintings date from the final years of his life. They are a departure from the familiar floating rectangles of color that preoccupied the artist for many years. Now there are just two areas of tone, which to me--and apparently to others back in the day--seem to recall the lunar landscape, an idea that is only reinforced by its year of creation, 1969, when men first walked on the moon. Of course it's not at all a realistic representation of the moon or anything else, but rather a painterly abstraction. Coming at the close of his career, reducing his art to its bare elements, paintings like Untitled (Black and Gray) convey a harsh finality to the artist's musings on the human condition.

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black and Gray), 1969

Rothko Auction Listing, Christie's

Mark Rothko, Untitled (Black and Gray), 1969

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