The Shape of Time
was a group exhibition and part of an initiative at the Kunsthistorisches Museum to welcome modern and contemporary art from other collections to hang side by side with old masters from its own historical collection. During the show, 19 modern artworks were introduced into the gallery. The center wall featured a Rothko painting on paper—Untitled
—coupled with Rembrandt van Rijn’s Large Self-Portrait
(1652). Two additional self-portraits by Rembrandt, both owned by the Kunsthistorisches, flanked the juxtaposed works. Rothko encountered works by the Dutch master throughout his career and developed an admiration for his artistic innovation. His introduction to Rembrandt began in the 1920s with the permanent collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and deepened with exhibitions such as The Art of Rembrandt at the Met
in 1942. The Shape of Time
was organized under the direction of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s Jasper Sharp.