Official website of the Foundation Juan March
The Abstraction of Landscape. From Northen Romanticism to Abstract Expressionism

October 5, 2007 – January 13, 2008

Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774-1840)

Caspar David Friedrich (German, 1774-1840)
Die Jahreszeiten: Der Herbst (Seasons of the Year: Autumn), 1803
Brush with brown ink over underlying pencil drawing on vellum paper, 7-1/2 x 10-13/16 in. (19.1 x 27.5 cm)
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, on permanent loan from the Ernst von Siemens Kunststiftung (FV 79)
© bpk / Kupferstichkabinett, SMB / Volker-H. Schneider

Mark Rothko (American, born Latvia, 1903-1970)

Mark Rothko (American, born Latvia, 1903-1970)
Untitled, 1969
Acrylic on paper, 74-1/8 x 48-1/8 in. (188.3 x 122.3 cm)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Gift of The Mark Rothko Foundation, Inc., 1986 (1986.43.295)
© 2007 Board of Trustees, National Gallery of Art / 1998 Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko / VEGAP / Madrid 2007


Nineteenth-century Romantic landscape painting and the Northern tradition as the origin of modern abstraction. The premise set forth in 1975 by the renowned art historian and professor Robert Rosenblum (1927-2006), inspires this exhibition with which the Fundación Juan March inaugurates its artistic season in October. It is comprised of some 100 works on paper by 25 European and American artists, from Caspar David Friedrich to Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock, lent by various institutions on both continents. The exhibition attempts to reveal visually, through the works of great masters, the evolution of the Romantic landscape throughout modern times up to its progressive abstraction by the American Abstract Expressionists and certain European contemporary artists.

Inspired by the famous book by Robert Rosenblum, Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradition. From Friedrich to Rothko (1975), the exhibition aims to demonstrate the pictorial, aesthetic and historical-cultural connection between the northern European tradition - particularly early Romantic landscape painting - and modern European and American abstraction. It reveals a fascinating “birth of abstraction out of the spirit of Romantic landscape”. Following in the tradition of numerous earlier exhibitions on Romanticism and landscape painting, the present one departs from this argument to connect almost two centuries of art history.

Organised in collaboration with numerous European and American museums, including the Kupferstichkabinett in Berlin which has loaned 35 works, the exhibition comprises works on paper (drawings in a variety of techniques, oil sketches on card and prints). It offers a historical survey of the work of more than 30 artists from 1802 to the present. [More information]