Image: Orange on Red on Red (1957)
September 25th marked Mark Rothko’s birthday. He was born Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz in 1903 in Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire. The family emigrated to the United States in 1913. Rothko would go on to become one of the great American painters.
We here in Washington are blessed with one of the great displays of his work. Duncan Phillips set aside a specific room when he built out his collection space to display his Rothkos. Interestingly, Rothko was still alive at the time and saw what would become the Rothko Room. As the Phillips website tells the story:
“Rothko visited the room and treasured the atmosphere. On a 1961 visit when Phillips was away, he asked the staff to make several small adjustments to the space. Phillips noticed—and reversed—the changes when he returned. He did, however, agree to limit the seating to one bench, a decision that is still honored today.
“The space set a standard for future commissions for the artist in other locations, but the Phillips’s room remains the only existing installation of Rothko’s paintings that was designed in collaboration with the artist himself. Though relocated in 2006, the Rothko Room has remained essentially unchanged in scale and character and continues to engage visitors.”
Though we have crossed over into autumn, the weather does not yet match the season. This painting seems like a talisman of the colors we will soon see.
If you pay a visit to the Phillips (and you should), keep in mind that Dupont has some great dining options, with over 30 recommended restaurants from our list in walking distance. In our dining guide, you can sort by cuisine, neighborhood, and/or rating. In both MAP or LIST format.