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Mark Rothko: Paintings on Paper
Rothko is renowned for his towering abstract paintings on canvas, but few people know that he also created nearly 1,000 paintings on paper over the course of his career.
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About the Artwork

In this somber still life of a cluttered Victorian interior, well-worn yet once-precious objects have been rendered so meticulously that the artist's brushstrokes are barely discernible. Harnett's exquisitely subtle tonal modulations and his ability to differentiate textures make this painting a tour-de-force of artistic illusionism. Such trompe l'oeil art gained popularity in late nineteenth-century America, reflecting a fin-de-siècle preoccupation with mortality and the fleeting rewards of material wealth.

Historically, such a vanitas still life would have incorporated traditional symbolic elements such as a skull, an hourglass, or a snuffed-out candle as unmistakable reminders of death. Harnett's allusion to human life is more subtle: well-thumbed volumes of Dante, Shakespeare, and Tasso; a lamp; the burnt, broken matchsticks; the Meerschaum pipe and spilled ashes; the piccolo and the sheet music are emblematic references to the five senses. These diverse elements, arranged in a highly unstable composition, all seem in danger of imminent collapse.

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About Our Prints

National Gallery of Art Custom Prints is your exclusive source for custom reproductions authorized and available for purchase directly from the National Gallery of Art. All items that are offered are produced using gallery-quality materials and the color is managed in a manner that produces a reproduction as true to the original as modern technology will allow.
Many of the works offered through this store are exclusive and not available anywhere else. In addition, new works are continually added to the offering, so come back often to see our new releases.
You have found the work that speaks to you. Now what? Using our innovative custom framing tool you can preview exactly what your finished and framed art will look like. We offer many different moulding styles so there is sure to be a match for any type of decor.

Member Discounts

Circle Members will receive a 20% discount for all Custom Prints orders processed through our kiosk or website. During the checkout process, enter the coupon code you received from the membership office and your discount will be applied.