The most important American abstract artists, Pollock and Rothko, both appreciated that paper could offer a better final brightness than canvas. Certainly for reasons of fragility and of conservation of the paper, their career was however mostly done with canvases.
During this critical phase which will be in remission before the end of the year, Rothko focuses on the luminous properties of his colors on paper, generally not exceeding 40 inches. Most of these papers are mounted on canvas.
Rothko brings to this new phase his experience of two decades in the choice of pigments. Many of his works in this pathetic series have a dark texture that does not exclude a high radiance. Clear compositions are rarer and may reflect short lived phases of optimism.
The vibrating reds then have a dominant role, even when their surface is restricted to the edge and the interstices. A large red and yellow oil on paper 134 x 103 cm was sold for $ 11M including premium by Christie's on November 15, 2017.
An example in pearly white and orange of this quest for ultimate brightness is for sale by Sotheby's in New York on May 16. The scarlet red is thin but contributes to the powerful balance. This oil on paper 99 x 65 cm mounted on canvas is estimated $ 7M, lot 5 in the sale of the Mandel collection. Please watch the video shared by the auction house.
SOLD for $ 19M including premium