Collection

Mark Rothko
American b.Latvia, 1903-1970

No. 1 (No. 18, 1948), 1948-1949
Oil on canvas
Gift of Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd (Blanchette Hooker, class of 1931)
1955.6.6
Period: 20th c
Classification: Painting
Dimensions: Framed: 72 3/8 x 60 3/8 x 5 1/2 in. (183.83 x 153.35 x 13.97 cm) Unframed: 67 11/16 x 55 7/8 in. (171.93 x 141.92 cm)
Signatures, Inscriptions and Markings v
Signed and dated (verso): Mark Rothko 1949
Exhibition History v
Japan, Shimane Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," March 7 - May 11, 2008; Japan, Ishibashi Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," May 17 - July 20, 2008; Japan, Yamagata Museum of Art, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," July 30 - August 31, 2008; Japan. Fuchu Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," September 6 - November 3, 2008; Japan, Miyazaki Prefectural Art Museum, "Paris--New York; Modern Paintings in 19th and 20th Century Master Works from the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York," November 14 - December 14, 2008; Washington, DC, National Gallery of Art, "Mark Rothko," May 3-August 16 1998; New York, New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, September 10- November 29, 1998; Paris, France, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Winter 1998/1999.; nb Poughkeepsie, NY, FLLAC, Vassar College, "XL: Large-scale Paintings from the Permanent Collection," Jan 30 - March 29, 2015
Description v
Born Marcus Rothkowitz, Rothko came to the United States with his family in 1913, receiving his education at Yale University for two years before going to New York to become a professional artist. Through the period 1947/48, Rothko worked in a largely figurative style that then began to transmogrify into what becomes his classic phase around 1950, soft colored rectangles superimposed on another field of color, simultaneously suggesting a tran- quility and tension among these areas of color. Within this development, the Vassar painting plays a very important role, being one of just a handful of works that fully articulate the transition from the realm of the somewhat recognizable to that of the completely abstract. In No. 1 (No.18, 1948), Rothko painted a group of various round, square, triangular, and bulbous forms that are applied to a reddish-orange ground over which a more sienna colored soft rectangle floats like a cloud. Thus, the work becomes absolutely pivotal as one can look at this painting and simultaneously understand his origins and his future as a painter. Half of Rothko’s total output of painted work date after 1948, making the Vassar painting literally a midway point in - numbers and style. He would have another twenty-two years to paint the remainder of his oeuvre before he took his own life on 25 February 1970. The Rothko painting is one of the most requested paintings for traveling exhibitions from the Vassar collection.
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