Mark Rothko’s Black on Maroon 1958 goes back on public view at Tate Modern today, following 18 months of extensive conservation work by Tate’s Collection Care team.
This painting, one of the iconic Seagram murals which Rothko donated to Tate in 1970, was vandalised with graffiti ink in October 2012. It has since been the subject of detailed research and restoration, supported by Tate Patrons and donations to the Tate Fund, and is now being returned to the gallery’s free collection displays.
Over nine months the team researched methods for removing the ink from the delicate paint layers, using special test canvases to assess the appropriate solvents and cleaning methods. Rachel Barker, Paintings Conservator at Tate, then spent a further nine months working on Black on Maroon itself, removing the majority of the surface ink before restoring the painting's surface.
Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said:
“I am delighted that everyone can once again come to Tate Modern and see Rothko’s magnificent Black on Maroon. Looking after its collection, Tate has a conservation team that is one of the best in the world. Their expertise, rigour, patient work and respect for the painting has enabled us to return it to public view, as envisaged by Mark Rothko.”
Watch the full story behind the restoration of Mark Rothko's 'Black on Maroon'.