Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Wednesday, 24 September 2008 17:35 UK

Rothko's murals reunited at Tate

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Christopher Rothko on his father's murals

Some of artist Mark Rothko's most famous paintings have been reunited for an exhibition at London's Tate Modern.

The new display sees 15 of Rothko's so-called Seagram murals reunited under one roof, along with other paintings and works on paper.

Rothko's children, Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, are in London for the exhibition.

The Modernist painter, one of America's most important post-war artists, died in 1970.

'Obsession'

The artist donated nine of the Seagram murals to the Tate shortly before his death, and the exhibition will offer viewers a rare chance to see half the murals in one place when it opens on Friday.

Christopher Rothko told the BBC's Razia Iqbal the exhibition was a retrospective of his father's later works.

"That makes sense here in London more than anywhere else because people here - when they think of Rothko - think first of these wonderful collection of murals at the Tate," the 45-year-old said.

Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko committed suicide in 1970, at the age of 66

"And these paintings are the beginning point for the late work, both in terms of a change in colour palette and an increasing interest, which really becomes an obsession, of painting for commissions, installations and also series of works.

"He doesn't entirely cease to think of easel paintings, but he is really thinking of groups of works that speak to the viewer... something that will envelop the viewer and give them more of an experience rather than simply a purely visual interaction."

The artist painted 30 works to commission for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York's Seagram building in 1958, but he did not hand them over.

Usually displayed in the Tate Modern's dedicated "Rothko Room", the nine permanent murals have been moved to a bigger space for the exhibition and joined by another six.

They are on loan from the Kawamura Memorial Museum of Art in Japan and the National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Other landmark series of Rothko's paintings are also being shown, including major Black-Form paintings (1964), large-scale Brown on Gray works on paper (1969), and works from his last series Black on Gray (196970).

The exhibition runs until 1 February 2009.


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