Another destination in London was the Tate to see the Rothko exhibition. It reunites Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals, originally commissioned in the 1950s for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, New York. The artist was always uneasy about the commission, reportedly saying
I hope to paint something that will ruin the appetite of every son of a bitch who ever eats in that room.
Ultimately, he withdrew the works and donated a group of nine to the Tate. After months at sea, the paintings arrived safely at the London docks on February 25, 1970, the very day he committed suicide in New York.
Rothko’s paintings are amongst the most iconic of late 20th century canvases, their luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour in diffused bands of red and orange, yellows and rich browns. This exhibition also includes many of his lesser-known, austere works, in a more stark palette of black, brown and grey, remniscent of Goya’s late black paintings. For example, this late work, Untitled, 1969, of grey and black, painted shortly before his suicide: