From Sotheby's: Mark Rothko

Jasper Sharp, curator of the Kunsthistorisches Museum’s current Mark Rothko retrospective, and Sotheby’s Contemporary Art specialist Saara Pritchard examine one of the most important periods of the artist’s career.

In the 1960s, Rothko abandoned the bright colors that characterize his work of the early 1950s in favor of deep reds and burgundies. Untitled, 1960, a highlight of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Evening Auction on May 16, illuminates this profound shift. “Seen close up and in a penumbra, as these paintings are meant to be seen, they absorb, they envelop the viewer,” wrote Peter Selz, curator of the 1961 MoMA retrospective. “For they are mirrors of our fantasy and serve as echoes of our experience.”

Sold on behalf of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, this work will benefit the institution’s Acquisitions Fund. Mark Rothko is on view at the Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna, through June 30.