Roman Vishniac Rediscovered
Sep 24, 2015 - Jan 3, 2016
Beck Building, Lower Level
5601 Main Street
More than any other photographer, Roman Vishniac profoundly influenced contemporary impressions of Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Vishniac created the most widely recognized and reproduced photographic record of that world on the eve of its annihilation, yet very little of his work was published or printed during his lifetime (1897–1990).
Roman Vishniac Rediscovered provides an introduction to Vishniac's radically diverse body of work—much of it only recently discovered. Known primarily for his poignant images of Eastern Europe, Vishniac was in fact a remarkably versatile and innovative photographer. This exhibition repositions his iconic photographs of Eastern Europe within a broader tradition of social documentary photography. Vishniac's career spans more than five decades, ranging from early engagements with European Modernism to highly inventive color photomicroscopy.
As an amateur photographer in Berlin in the early 1920s, the Russian-born Vishniac took to the streets, offering intelligent and wry visual commentary while experimenting with new approaches to framing and composition. He documented the Nazi rise to power and photographed impoverished Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.
After fleeing to New York in 1941, he opened a portrait studio, recorded American Jewish communal and immigrant life, and established himself as a pioneer in photomicroscopy (taking photographs with a microscope). In 1947, Vishniac returned to Europe to document Jewish displaced-persons camps, the ruins of Berlin, and efforts of Holocaust survivors to rebuild their lives. Vishniac's work in color photomicroscopy was his primary focus for the remainder of his life.
Mark Rothko: A Retrospective
Sep 20, 2015 - Jan 24, 2016
Beck Building, Ground Floor
5601 Main Street
Long recognized as among the foremost figures of the Abstract Expressionist vanguard, Mark Rothko embraced the possibility of beauty in pure abstraction with a painterly eloquence that gave a new voice to American art. The MFAH is the sole U.S. venue to present Mark Rothko: A Retrospective, which draws upon the unrivaled holdings of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Across a career spanning the most troubled years of the 20th century, Rothko (1903–1970) explored the tragic and the sublime, and his canvases remain a testament to the deep humanism he brought to modern painting. This definitive retrospective comprises more than 60 paintings that trace the artist’s full career arc, highlighting milestones in the development of his signature style.
In 1986, the National Gallery of Art was the primary recipient of what are essentially “Rothko’s Rothkos,” the paintings the artist held within his own collection at the time of his death. By bringing these works to Houston, home of the Rothko Chapel, the MFAH is able to give Museum visitors the opportunity to see the full range of Rothko’s achievement in the same city as his most acclaimed and enduring public commission.