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The Armory Show

Javits Center, New York
Viewing room
6 - 12 September 2021

Booth 331

The Hollis Taggart 2021 Armory Show booth will feature a selection of premier Abstract Expressionist and Post-war artworks with an emphasis on the contribution of women artists during the period between 1945 to 1985. We plan to highlight works by Leon Berkowitz, Dusti Bongé, Friedel Dzubas, Audrey Flack, Helen Frankenthaler, Adolph Gottlieb, Idelle Weber, and Michael (Corinne) West, among others. For more information on the gallery's booth presentation please contact us at +1 212.628.4000 or info@hollistaggart.com.

Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1946
Mark Rothko, Untitled, 1946

In Untitled, Mark Rothko avoided the linear forms with which he inscribed the totemic shapes and glyphs of his works from the immediately preceding years that coincided with World War II. Instead, the composition is defined by unbounded brushwork that Rothko deployed in a wide array of techniques. Diffuse passages of white, grays, and earth tones form the canvas’s ground and dominate its upper part. In its lower half, he composed shapes in hues of white, black, brown, and a crimson orange, ranging from ragged brushwork and defined forms to a tightly tapered curve, directional brushstrokes, and repetitions of thin, striated lines. The abstract nature of the present painting is reinforced by Rothko’s refusal to title it, a marked departure from the evocative, mythic titles of his works from the war years.

 

While the varied painterly techniques in Untitled may be in fact be read as pure abstraction, it is also possible to see the shapes of a deconstructed head here, its painted shapes loosely suggesting the visage of a face or skull with eye sockets, a jawbone, and other features. At the same time, the flatness of its forms adheres to Rothko’s desire, expressed in 1943 in a joint statement with Adolph Gottlieb, “to reassert the picture plane. We are for flat forms because they destroy illusion and reveal truth.” (3)

 

3. Adolph Gottlieb and Mark Rothko, June 7, 1943 letter to the Edward Alden Jewell, Art Editor, New York Times

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