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New Must-Have Monograph: 'Mark Rothko: The Exhibitions at Pace'

  • NEW YORK, New York
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  • October 14, 2019

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Pace Gallery is set to release Mark Rothko: The Exhibitions at Pace, published by Callaway Arts & Entertainment. The highly anticipated monograph traces the arc of production of one of the most celebrated artists of the twentieth century, presented chronologically through eleven groundbreaking Rothko exhibitions organized by and held at Pace Gallery from 1978 through 2017. An advance deluxe edition debuted on September 10 at the opening of Pace’s new flagship Chelsea location. This special edition of 300 copies is signed by Arne Glimcher, the founder of Pace Gallery, and Rothko’s children. On November 5, 2019, the trade edition of Mark Rothko: The Exhibitions at Pace will be released in bookstores nationwide.

“Our relationship was close enough for me to step into the studio, on my way home, if the light was on in his doorway,” Glimcher recalls in his introduction to the book. He was introduced to Rothko at his studio, an old carriage house on East 69th Street, in the spring of 1966 by Louise Nevelson, another longtime gallery artist. What began as a thoughtful relationship with the artist—at the time working on his Menil Chapel paintings—transformed into something greater: a bond with Rothko’s children, who entrusted him with the responsibility of representing the Rothko estate.

Pace Gallery has represented Rothko’s work for over four decades, during which eleven exhibitions illuminating the artist’s achievements have been organized: The Realist Years (2001), The Surrealist Years (1981), The Watercolors 1941–1947 (2014), Multiforms (1990), A Painter’s Progress, The Year 1949 (2004), Paintings 1948–1969 (1983), Dark Palette (2017), The 1958–59 Murals (1978), The Dark Paintings 1969–1970 (1985), The Last Paintings (1994), and Bonnard-Rothko: Color and Light (1997).

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While Dark Palette was on view in 2017, over 40,000 visitors attended the exhibition over seven weeks. Today, it still holds the gallery’s attendance record—a testament to Rothko’s ability to captivate viewers with his work. His canvases, scaled to the size of a human body, prompt visitors to pause. As Glimcher explains: “Through color and composition, with great complexity, Rothko’s paintings convey pure emotion.”

This series of exhibitions has allowed some of the most distinguished art historians to write on Rothko’s work for the accompanying catalogues. Mark Rothko: The Exhibitions at Pace brings this scholarship together in a single volume. The literature has become inextricable from the canon of Rothko’s work, and collectively forms an essential body of knowledge. The participation of Christopher and Kate Rothko was crucial in creating this monograph.

Contributors to the publication include Klaus Kertess (“The Realist Years”), Robert Rosenblum (“The Surrealist Years”), James Lawrence (“The Watercolors: 1941–47”), Mark Stevens (“Multiforms”), Bernice Rose (“A Painter’s Progress” & “Bonnard-Rothko: Color and Light”), Irving Sandler (“Paintings: 1948–69”), Dan Rice (“The 1958–59 Murals: interview by Arne Glimcher with Dan Rice”), and Brian O’Doherty (“The Dark Paintings: 1969–70” & “The Last Paintings”). Arne Glimcher intersperses warm, personal touches in the book’s introduction and in his essay accompanying the exhibition Dark Palette.

The contributing writers guide the reader from Rothko’s early contributions in the 1930s to his Surrealist years, from his radical transition into abstraction in the Multiforms of the late 1940s to his monumental mature masterworks. In addition to sharing art historical expertise, the contributors highlight their personal connections to the artist, including Dan Rice, who assisted Rothko notably during his creation of the 1958–59 murals.

An additional highlight of the book is a gallery of seventy-five essential Rothko works drawn from every major Rothko period and faithfully reproduced, in chronological sequence. Elegantly designed, printed and bound with the combination of advanced technology and fine craftmanship for which Callaway is known, Mark Rothko: The Exhibitions at Pace preserves and extends the artist’s legacy for a new generation. This landmark publication is a work to be treasured by connoisseurs of fine art and books everywhere.

Mark Rothko (b. 1903, Dvinsk, Russia; d. 1970, New York), a pioneer of the New York School, is one of the most significant and influential artists of the twentieth century. He is predominantly recognized for his mesmerizing Color-field paintings of monumental scale produced between 1949–1970, which followed his works of figurative and biomorphic imagery. His stylistic explorations resulted in a proliferation of works on paper and canvas, with layered transparencies of vibrant pigments and earth tones culminating in luminous and ethereal soft-edged compositions. His approach to painting emphasized an experimental engagement with process in order to fully articulate a universal expression. Among Rothko’s artistic philosophies, he held that paintings was deeply psychological and spiritual experience through which profound human emotions could be communicated.

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