Long recognized as among the foremost figures of the Abstract Expressionist vanguard, Mark Rothko embraced the possibility of beauty in pure abstraction with a painterly eloquence that gave a new voice to American art. The MFAH is the sole U.S. venue to present Mark Rothko: A Retrospective, which draws upon the unrivaled holdings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Across a career spanning the most troubled years of the 20th century, Rothko (1903–1970) explored the tragic and the sublime, and his canvases remain a testament to the deep humanism he brought to modern painting. This definitive retrospective comprises more than 60 paintings that trace the artist’s full career arc, highlighting milestones in the development of his signature style.
In 1986, the National Gallery of Art was the primary recipient of what are essentially “Rothko’s Rothkos,” the paintings the artist held within his own collection at the time of his death. By bringing these works to Houston, home of the Rothko Chapel, the MFAH is able to give Museum visitors the opportunity to see the full range of Rothko’s achievement in the same city as his most acclaimed and enduring public commission.