Rothko unveiled at the Fondation Louis Vuitton

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An American in Paris

T he exhibition will be France's first major retrospective on the legendary artist for a quarter of a century.

This autumn the Fondation Louis Vuitton will stage the first major exhibition on the work of Mark Rothko to be held in France for more than two decades.

The show will bring together 115 of the innovative American’s works from an impressive list of collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, the artist’s family and London’s Tate Gallery. The exhibition also considers all the phases of the artist’s career: from his earliest figurative paintings to the abstract works for which he is most famous.

The retrospective begins with the urban landscapes, such as visions of the New York subway, that dominated Rothko’s output in the 1930s; before he transferred his attention to works inspired by ancient myths and surrealism as a reaction to the Second World War.

From 1946, the artist moved on to abstract expressionism and the works for which he is best known today, dominated by rectangular shapes in shades of yellow, red, ochre, orange and white.

The exhibition also includes a set of wall paintings that were originally commissioned for the Four Seasons restaurant but never delivered.

Rothko later donated these to the Tate and they will be appearing en masse at the Fondation.

Another highlight is a selection of the artist’s later works, dominated by black and grey hues, that are due to be shown in the highest room of the Frank Gehry-designed building, alongside a selection of Alberto Giacometti’s large-scale sculptural figures. Between them they recall a plan Rothko conceived for a UNESCO commission that never came to fruition.

"Mark Rothko" opens at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris, on 18 October 2023.

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