Yesterday afternoon a man defaced one of Mark Rothko’s famous Seagram paintings at London’s Tate Modern, writing his name — Vladimir Umanets — and the cryptic phrase “a potential piece of yellowism” in the piece’s lower right hand corner, resulting in the entrie museum being temporarily shut down. Now the American Modernist’s children Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko have issued a statement in response to the act of vandalism.
Their message, distributed by the Pace Gallery, which has represented the Rothko estate since 1968, reads:
The Rothko family is greatly troubled by yesterday’s occurrence but has full confidence that the Tate Gallery will do all in its power to remedy the situation. Our father donated his legendary Seagram paintings to the museum in 1969 sensing the commitment of the institution to his work and impressed by the warm embrace it had received from the British public. We are heartened to have felt that embrace again in the outpouring of distress and support that we and our father have received both directly and in public forums.
Umanets’s whereabouts remain a mystery.
— Benjamin Sutton