Mark Rothko

This was the third and final venue of an exhibition organized by the Tate Gallery, London. The Cologne presentation was the first retrospective of the artist’s work held in Germany since 1971. The show surveyed four decades of Rothko’s career but emphasized the 1950s, a period highlighted in this exhibition by a series of nine Seagram Murals painted between 1958 and 1959 and presented to the Tate by the artist in 1969. (These canvases belong to a larger campaign of about thirty murals that Rothko produced on commission for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York’s Seagram Building, a project he abandoned in 1959.) The retrospective at Cologne included eleven works on paper and was the first major presentation of the artist’s work held after the Mark Rothko Foundation had dispersed its holdings in 1986 to a select group of international museums, including the Museum Ludwig, which had opened that same year.