Mark Rothko. The Retrospective – Kunsthalle Hamburg





Exhibition extends until 14 September 2008





Hamburger Kunsthalle

Mark Rothko. The Retrospective
on display through 24 August 2008.





The American painter Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is one of the most important representatives of Abstract Expressionism. Twenty years after the last retrospective in a German museum this show at the Hamburger Kunsthalle offers the opportunity to discover his outstanding oeuvre anew. In the face of the most recent developments on the art market and considering the high sensitivity of the colour surface of his pictures and the challenging issues of conservation, the realisation of this exhibition marks a very special effort and a great responsibility to both the lenders and their works. A comparable opportunity to see Rothko’s oeuvre in this concentration and quality will not arise in Europe for a long time to come.


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Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko, um 1961
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel &Christopher Rothko / VG Bild Kunst, Bonn 2008



The exhibition comprises more than 110 works including more than 70 oil paintings on canvas and more than 40 works on paper. It presents works from all phases of Rothko’s career and allows the immediate experience of their intriguing and mysterious aura which no reproduction is able to capture. More than two thirds of the paintings come from the USA and the majority of these have never before been shown in Germany.

After his early interest in Surrealism, Rothko completely turned towards abstraction around 1946. In his multiforms, multiply-layered, freely composed, varying shapes of colour, he devoted all attention to the interaction of colour and shape in both the contrasts and harmonies resulting from their combination. In the later phase for which he is best known, Rothko most often arranged three horizontal, coloured rectangles with slightly blurring edges above one another. Like no artist before him did he foreground the expressive potential of colour alone – liberated from all narrative or figural elements – and in this way created paintings of high emotional intensity. Rothko himself said that his work was about the expression of the most fundamental human emotions with the means of colour.


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Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Entrance to Subway (Subway Station / Subway Scene), 1938
Öl auf Leinwand, 86,4 x 117,5 cm
Collection Kate Rothko Prizel
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008

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Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Untitled (Archaic Seascape, Primeval landscape), ca. 1943
Aquarell auf Papier, 57,2 x 78,9 cm
Collection Kate Rothko Prizel
© Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008



“I’m not an abstractionist. I’m not interested in the relationship of colour or form or anything else. I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on … The fact that people break down and cry when confronted with my pictures shows that I can communicate those basic human emotions … the people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when painting them.”

Seen in a surrounding of dimmed lighting and viewed from a close distance, these paintings unfold their overwhelming power and their capacity to dissolve all borders. As the exhibition reveals, the glowing, intensely coloured and highly emotional paintings have lost nothing of their fascination and immense power of attraction.


\Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Earth and Green, 1955
Öl auf Leinwand 231,5 x 187 cm
Museum Ludwig, Köln
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008


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Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Blue and Gray, 1962
Öl auf Leinwand, 201,3 x 175,3 cm
Fondation Beyeler, Riehen / Basel
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008

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Mark Rothko. Retrospektive – Kunsthalle Hamburg
Mark Rothko (1903-1970)
Untitled, 1969
Acryl auf Leinwand, 233,7 x 200,3 cm
Collection Christopher Rothko
© 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2008


Photos Courtesy Hamburger Kunsthalle
© Photos. All rights reserved. Any use forbidden





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~ by Stampfli & Turci on June 9, 2008.

3 Responses to “Mark Rothko. The Retrospective – Kunsthalle Hamburg”

  1. I flying in for Washington D.C. to see the the Rothko exhibit later this week. Will I need to purchase tickets in advance?

  2. According to the information which we have, there is no need to purchase tickets in advance.

    Opening hours of the Hamburger Kunsthalle:

    The opening hours of the exhibition will be extended as follows:
    Sunday to Wednesday: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Thursday to Saturday: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    Mondays closed

    Admission (including permanent exhibition)
    Adults 10 €
    Concessions 5 €
    Family Day Ticket € 14
    Children and teenager under 18 years free entrance

    Kindest regards
    Helmut Stampfli
    Espaces Arts & Objets

  3. excellent blog post. thoroughly enjoyed it.

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