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Fondation Louis Vuitton to Show Monumental Retrospective on Mark Rothko

Opening in October, the show will be the first of its kind in France since 1999.

Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris is currently playing host to a monumental exhibition showcasing the work of Pop artist Andy Warhol and Neo Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Shortly after, however, the institution will dial the history books back to present a comprehensive survey on American painter, Mark Rothko.

As the first retrospective on Rothko in France since the 1999 show at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the eponymously titled exhibition will retrace the artist’s early landscapes and lesser-known figurative paintings produced in the 1930s and ’40s, to his moody color-field paintings following the post-war years. In total, the exhibition will feature 115 works sourced from major institutions, along with private collections from around the world, including Rothko’s 1958 series of wall paintings he created as a commission for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York.

Rothko’s paintings look deceptively simple. Color, proportion and varying degrees of light. His work, however monumental in size or modestly small, has been celebrated for over 70 years for its ability to evoke a spectrum of human emotions — from anger and sadness, happiness and hope to wonder and ecstasy. “I became a painter because I wanted to raise painting to the level of poignancy of music and poetry,” Rothko once mused.

While he was typically known for his darker tones and muted contrasts, the exhibition will also highlight more vibrant works made later in his career. Several of these pieces will be on view at the institution’s tallest room in the Frank Gehry-designed building, alongside sculptures by Alberto Giacometti, which was once a UNESCO commission between the two artists, but was never realized.

Mark Rothko will open on October 18, 2023 and run through April 2, 2024.

Elsewhere, we spoke to Landon Metz about the spirit behind his lyrical compositions.

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