seize the rothko!

Now that is not an invitation for thievery. It is a signal of carpe diem that when you are able to go to an art museum, do so.

And when they have Rothkos on exhibit, be joyous!

So while we were in DC, we found ourselves with a bit of open time, so we walked over to the Phillips Collection,

“AMERICA’S FIRST MUSEUM OF MODERN ART SINCE 1921″.

Great scale. Perfect for the time we had open and perfect for our tastes. The biggest treat was the Rothko Room.

A room of Rothkos!

Built with his cooperation and the owner, Duncan Phillips.

The Rothko Room at the Phillips Collection

The intimate Rothko Room holds four paintings by abstract expressionist Mark Rothko, and reflects the artist’s preference for exhibiting his art “in a scale of normal living.”

Duncan Phillips’s empathetic response to Mark Rothko’s paintings reveals the collector’s understanding of the emotional impact of color. In 1957, Phillips held his first group exhibition that included the artist and purchased Green and Maroon (1953). In 1960, he acquired Green and Tangerine on Red (1956) andOrange and Red on Red (1957) from a one-person show held at the museum. In looking at Rothko’s paintings, Phillips wrote, “What we recall are not memories but old emotions disturbed or resolved—some sense of well being suddenly shadowed by a cloud—yellow ochres strangely suffused with a drift of gray prevailing over an ambience of rose or the fire diminishing into a glow of embers, or the light when the night descends.”

In 1960, as Phillips was designing an adjoining building to accommodate his growing collection, he designated a specific room for Rothko’s paintings, making the Phillips the first American museum to dedicate a space to the artist’s work. The resulting room was small, with one painting on each wall (Ochre and Red on Red (1954) was added upon its purchase in 1964), dim lights to enhance the resonance of the colors, and chairs for prolonged viewing. From the outset, the room was intended as a meditative space, even referred to by Phillips as a type of “chapel.”

And as written here in the Phillips Collection blog,

IN THE ROTHKO ROOM, YOU MIGHT BURST INTO TEARS.

Well, you might. We didn’t, but we stayed for a long time and then went back a second time.

To be inspired.

We’ve seen Rothkos now in NYC, Chicago, Boston, and DC, and they always inspire. Maybe I’ll get to Houston to the Rothko Chapel, maybe not. But here I am happy to assimilate all that I learn about Mark Rothko and his approach to art.

This is from the Met, from our trip last January.

In this vein, I offer a few of my photos that I took at the Phillips, so inspired.

 

 

and one more for now.

 

If you want to learn more about Mark Rothko’s art, go here, brought to you by our government via the National Gallery of Art. I guess this page is a watershed point, in case you just want to hit one.

 

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