Mark Rothko, Entrance to Subway [Subway Scene],1938, Collection of Kate Rothko Prizel

Rothko's street scenes and subway pictures of the 1930s have been compared to examples of Ashcan School and Depression-era realist painting, but this resemblance is likely based on the perception of a shared urban motif. Rather than providing a "realistic" portrayal of the city life, Rothko seems far more interested in conveying the perceptual experience of architectural space, using abstract compositional arrangements to explore the relationship between the painting and its viewer, an element that would play a critical role in the artist's later works.


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