Through a long-term loan with the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., two paintings by the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko are on view in the Modern Contemporary galleries at Mint Museum Uptown. The two works — No. 17 [or] No. 15 and Untitled 1951 — are the only paintings by Rothko currently on view in North Carolina.
Rothko’s serene floating blocks of color, typical of his mature work in the 1950s and 1960s, are considered a pivotal moment in the move from figural painting to Abstract Expressionism, says Todd A. Herman, president and CEO. “Influenced by the tragedies of World War II, Rothko felt that painting needed to reach deeper into our shared subconscious where humanity can be connected through emotional responses to color and shape. He worked in a vertical format to reflect the human form and encouraged people to stand just a few feet in front so that the work could fill their vision and maximize the effect.”