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Red on Burgundy

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1959, 266.7×238.8 cm • Oil, Tempera, Acrylic, Canvas

Description of the artwork «Red on Burgundy»

Mark Rothko "Red on maroon" (eng. Red on Maroon) is a part of the vast suffering of the cycle (1, 2, 3, 4), who gained international fame under the name Seagram Murals ("Panel to Sigema"). The history of the series full of drama, doubt and mental agony, as the life of the artist. And she continues to write to this day: a half-century later, the work Sugrevushka cycle inspire artists to create music, staging plays and even acts of artistic vandalism.

The art of the aperitif


In early 1958 Rothko the artist, being at the peak of recognition, gets an offer from a canadian company Seagram to write a few large panels for the decoration of a respectable restaurant "Four seasons", located in the nominal skyscraper the new York headquarters of alcoholic beverage giant with a hundred years of history. The terms of the contract provided for payments of approximately $ 2.5 million in today's equivalent.

But the artist is not so easy to make happy even so flattering a proposal. He made the decision long and hard, consulting with friends and family. He had a complicated relationship with big money and other manifestations of American capitalism. In the end, the belief that art can change the world prevailed, and Rothko signed the contract. He was attracted by the opportunity to work on a cycle, which will be written for a specific room, which has long been his dream. "These are not paintings, – he will say later about the work of the series. – I've created a space".

To work on the project, he rented the Annex of an old gymnasium, with its dimensions suited to simulate the private area of the restaurant for which it was designed murals. Rothko was primarily a man of art, and the last thing he cared about the decorative value of the paintings. They moved the idea, trying to embody in full measure led to the fact that the artist again and again rejected, original copies, selling them individually.

The main source of inspiration for him was a visit to the house of Medici during a trip through Europe: "Subconsciously, I was under the strong influence of the walls are decorated Michelangelo in the ladder space of the library of Medici in Florence. He was able to achieve a feeling that is experienced and I: it makes visitors feel like they are trapped in a room where all doors and Windows are bricked up. So all they can do is Bang my head against the wall until the end of time".

Unpleasant appetite!


Despite the fact that Rothko began work with ill intent "to ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch that ever dine in this room" after visiting the restaurant "Four seasons" I lost my appetite from the artist himself. Seeing the prices on the menu, he realized that the people who "eat money instead of food" will never be able to appreciate the depth of his paintings.

Rothko was not able to transcend themselves and give their offspring to the slaughter moneybags and has done an unprecedented thing by terminating the contract and returning the down payment. In 1961, the paintings were presented at the exhibition Rothko gallery in London's "Whitechapel". And when four years later the Director of the gallery "Tate" asked the artist with a proposal to expand its exhibition in his Museum, Rothko offered him a part of the work Sugrevushka cycle, located in a dedicated room. In 1968, Rothko gave the gallery the first work – "Black on maroon". Then sent him the layout of the room where the installation was planned so that the artist could determine the final choice of paintings for her, and also recommend their location.

In the end, he gave the gallery eight paintings, four of which are called in the same way as the first, and four more are called "Red on maroon". Since then, the exposition is traditionally referred to as "the Rothko Room", is on display in the gallery almost constant, while in a few different versions. Sometimes it is accompanied by a performance of the chamber orchestra with a musical dedication, inspired by the art of the artist.

The private life of a masterpiece


Thirty paintings created during the process of writing Sugrevushka cycle, spread across the globe and settled in three different parts of the world. In addition to London, their permanent residence became the Memorial Museum of modern art Kawamura in Japan and the national gallery of art in Washington.

No matter how Rothko trying to keep control over their work, refusing fantastic fees and offering the pattern for free where he thought they were relevant, his work is still out here and laid the Foundation for the works of art in other areas.

Based on the history of murals for the restaurant "Four seasons" is an American screenwriter and playwright John Logan (the author of scenarios to films "Gladiator", "Aviator" and "Alien" 2017) wrote the play "Red," the first production of which took place in London in December 2009. Mark Rothko in it was played by Alfred Molina, and a fictional assistant, with whom the artist conducts dialogues about the vision and meaning of art – Eddie Redmayne received for this role a prestigious theater award "Tony" (total play won six out of seven categories).

In 2012, the news feeds were full of the message that one of the paintings "Rothko room" at the gallery "Tate" was subjected to art vandalism. A native of Russia Vladimir Umanets made in the bottom corner, ink inscription, where he announced the work of Rothko "potential work jellesma". The staff of the gallery for one and a half years sought ways most painless to remove traces of the "celtism" from the picture. On time consuming and delicate process filmed an interesting documentary the film "Restoring Rothko".

And the perpetrator after serving half years in a British prison, wrote a grant column for the British guardian, in which he expressed great remorse, explaining that, above all, that his action had the opposite effect. He laments that instead of promoting "celtism" the art for associated now mainly with the crime. And explains that Rothko was not elected for his purposes on purpose: "It was a spontaneous decision, nothing personal".

Author: Natalia Azarenka
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About the artwork
Style of art and technique: Abstractionism, Oil, Tempera, Acrylic

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