Mark Rothko, Underground Fantasy [Subway], c. 1940, National Gallery of Art, Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986.43.130
He produced a number of haunting images of the New York subway, in which
windows, portals, and walls serve as structural and expressive devices of confinement. Rothko shows the subway as a measured yet
eccentric place, containing a dramatic contrast of perspectival extremes: walls and railings are represented as flat screens,
while tracks recede sharply. Figures can be identified by anecdotal details of dress as commuters, shoppers, or schoolchildren,
but they are largely attenuated, faceless, and flat.