mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

“I am not interested in the relationship between form and colour. The only thing I care about is the expression of man’s basic emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, destiny.”
rothko speaking about his work

It had been a long time (too long!!) since I’d visited a gallery or museum, so I was very glad to be able to catch the last-chance late view of the Mark Rothko exhibition at the Gemeente Museum in The Hague last Friday evening (the exhibition ended on Sunday 1 March). I have always enjoyed looking at Rothko’s vast colour fields and pleasingly tactile, scumbled surfaces… exuding their shifting, ethereal inner luminescence. Even when his palette fades to black (on black) there’s depth and a remotely elusive glow to be found. For me his canvasses have the potential to envelop one with an effect akin to that of listening to music.

mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

[1] & [2] No.9 [details], 1948

mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

[1] orange & tan, 1954
[2] untitled [detail], 1949

mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

[1] untitled (seagram mural sketch) [detail], 1959
[2] untitled, 1969

mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

[1] & [2] untitled (seagram mural sketch) [details], 1959

mark rothko exhibition @ gemeente museum, den haag, february 2015

[1] & [2] untitled (harvard mural sketch) [details], 1962

Despite Rothko’s assertions that his work is never about “the relationship between form and colour” I couldn’t help, on leaving the exhibition, feeling more attuned to noticing the colour fields…

tilework @ gemeente museum, den haag

and (sometimes dizzying) abstractions in the 1930’s tilework of the museum’s stairwells and corridors.

tilework @ gemeente museum, den haag