April 15, 1998

Mark Rothko, National Gallery of Art, Washington

Mark Rothko
National Gallery of Art, Washington
May 3 - August 16, 1998

The first comprehensive American retrospective in twenty years of paintings and works on paper by Mark Rothko (1903-1970), long recognized as one of America's foremost artists, will be on view at the National Gallery of Art, East Building. This exhibition will take full advantage of the National Gallery's unique Rothko holdings, a gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, which constitute the largest public repository of the artist's works. One hundred fifteen paintings and works on paper will be included, dating from the 1930s to 1970, with an emphasis on his surrealist and classic periods. Arranged chronologically, the exhibition will reveal the extent of Rothko's prolific and wide-ranging output throughout a career that spanned five decades.

The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art. After Washington, it will travel to the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (September 10-November 29, 1998) and the Musée d'art moderne de la Ville de Paris (winter 1998/1999).

"As the most important repository and study center of this great artist's work, the National Gallery has a special interest in bringing this retrospective to the public. A decade ago, the National Gallery received the core collection of The Mark Rothko Foundation, a gift that included 295 paintings and works on paper, and more than 650 sketches," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are grateful to the artist's daughter and son, Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, who are lending numerous works for this important exhibition, and to New York's Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and others for their generous loans," he added. The exhibition will draw on loans from other public and private collections in the United States, Europe, and Japan.

Mark Rothko's achievement has had a decisive impact on the course of twentieth-century art and has given rise to a wealth of critical interpretation. A central figure in the development of postwar abstract painting in the United States, Rothko is best known for the unique use of color in his paintings from around 1950 onward. These are considered among the most original landmarks of the New York School.

Mark Rothko, who committed suicide at age sixty-six, was born in Dvinsk, Russia, and immigrated to the United States at age ten. After two years of liberal arts study at Yale University, he moved to New York, where he took classes briefly at the Art Students League and began to paint. In many respects he considered himself a self-taught artist, although his early style was influenced by other painters such as Milton Avery, whom he knew well.

The exhibition includes figurative works ranging from the expressionist manner of Rothko's early period in New York City, to his experimentation with mythological themes during the early to middle 1940s, and his completely abstract "multiforms" of the late 1940s.

Also highlighted are Mark Rothko's classic paintings of the 1950s, which are distinguished by an emphasis on pure pictorial elements such as color, surface, and structure. His canvases from that period, characterized by expanding dimensions and an increasingly simplified use of form, brilliant luminosity, and broad, thin washes of color, are represented in the exhibition by No. 10, 1950 (The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Philip Johnson); Untitled [Blue, Green and Brown], 1952 (Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon, Upperville, Virginia); and No. 1 (Royal Red and Blue) [Untitled],

While the large scale of Mark Rothko's classic paintings suggests that they are monumental, the artist believed that the large dimensions made the pictures intimate: they allow the viewer to relate to the canvas as if it were another living presence. In this way, Rothko also felt that the works could express emotions associated with major themes such as tragedy, ecstasy, and the sublime, but without the use of symbolic imagery. The impact of these commanding works is often described in spiritual as well as emotional terms.

In the late 1950s Mark Rothko began to explore the effects of a darker palette, which lent a dramatic new presence to paintings such as No. 10, 1958 (Private Collection); No. 207 (Red over Dark Blue on Dark Gray), 1961 (University of California, Berkeley Art Museum); and No. 3 (Bright Blue, Brown, Dark Blue on Wine), 1962 (Robert and Jane Meyerhoff, Phoenix, Maryland).

In 1964, Mark Rothko was commissioned by John and Dominique de Menil to paint murals for a nondenominational chapel in Houston, Texas. The exhibition includes works related to this project in which darkness has become the dominant pictorial and thematic element as can be seen in Untitled [White, Blacks, Grays on Maroon], 1963 (Kunsthaus Zürich).

There are also paintings and works on paper in the exhibition from the last three years of Mark Rothko's life, when he produced large paintings using a newly distilled compositional format and a reduced palette of black, gray, brown, muted ochres and blues. These include Untitled, 1969 (John and Mary Pappajohn, Des Moines, Iowa).

The curator for the National Gallery exhibition is Jeffrey Weiss, associate curator, twentieth-century art, National Gallery of Art. The consultants for the exhibition are Mark Rosenthal, curator of twentieth-century art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and David Anfam, author of the forthcoming Rothko catalogue raisonné.

Accompanying the exhibition will be a fully illustrated catalogue, with color images of every work in the show. It will include contributions by John Gage, Carol Mancusi-Ungaro, Barbara Novak, Brian O'Doherty, Mark Rosenthal, Jessica Stewart, and Jeffrey Weiss. There will also be interviews with contemporary painters Ellsworth Kelly, Brice Marden, Gerhart Richter, Robert Ryman, and sculptor George Segal about Rothko's artistic legacy. The catalogue will be published by the National Gallery of Art and distributed in hard cover by Yale University Press.

The catalogue raisonné of Rothko's works on canvas is in preparation by the National Gallery of Art.

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC

April 2, 1998

Le magazine de cinéma Première au Japon

Hachette Filipacchi Médias (HFM) vient de lancer au Japon la septième édition internationale du magazine de cinéma PREMIERE. Ce nouveau lancement porte à 1 million d'exemplaires, la diffusion du magazine Première dans le monde.

Première Japon a un tirage initial de 100.000 exemplaires et compte 140 pages dont 43 de publicité, annonce HFM qui précise également que le nouveau mensuel vise une diffusion en rythme de croisière de 60.000 exemplaires, à un prix équivalent à 24 FF.

L'édition japonaise de Première, publiée par Hachette Filipacchi Japan, s'appuie sur une rédaction sur place de 7 personnes. La rédaction en chef a été confiée à un spécialiste américain du cinéma, Gregory Starr, ancien rédacteur en chef de Winds et de Tokyo Journal, qui vit depuis vingt ans à Tokyo. Il dirige sur place une équipe de 6 personnes dont 2 maquettistes, chargées de réaliser chaque mois une édition adaptée du Première français et qui respecte le concept originel. Le magazine s'articule autour de trois parties : les sorties de films et les critiques (articles courts), une partie magazine, très développée, avec portraits et interviews et enfin un cahier spécial de 16 pages « Home Guide » présentant vidéos, CD et livres.

En valeur, le Japon est le deuxième marché du cinéma dans le monde. Pour 129 millions d'habitants, on compte 150 millions d'entrées en 1997, chiffre en augmentation constante (+20% d'entrées par rapport à 1996), soit le même niveau qu'en France, mais avec un prix de la place élevé (entre 95 et 120 FF). 8 millions de Japonais se définissent comme de fréquents « visiteurs » de salles de cinéma et ils sont 300.000 à y aller plus de vingt fois par an. Ces 300.000 cinéphiles constituent le coeur de cible de Première, souligne HFM dans son communiqué de presse.

Côté production, sur 598 films montrés au Japon en 1996, 320 étaient d'origine étrangère. Mais les grands succès sont souvent japonais : sur les 10 films qui ont réalisé le plus d'entrées, 5 sont japonais et pèsent pour 45% des recettes globales de ce Top Ten. HFM entend bien entendu tenir compte de ces données pour le contenu rédactionnel de l’édition japonaise de Première..

Avec sept éditions du magazine Première dans le monde, cette publication mensuelle fait partie des grandes marques internationales du groupe HFM, à côté de ELLE, ELLE Décoration, Car and Driver, Quo et depuis peu Paris Match. Ainsi Première a des éditions en France depuis 1976, aux Etats-Unis depuis 1987, en Grande Bretagne depuis 1992, en Corée du Sud depuis 1995, à Taiwan depuis 1997, en Russie également depuis 1997 et désormais au Japon.