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When I was walking around South Orange this morning, I saw this red-winged blackbird standing in the grass, below left. When it took off in flight (bottom center), the two bold shapes of color against the black feathers really grabbed my attention. I’m not sure how I’ve reached my current age without ever having seen a red winged blackbird in flight before, but seeing how striking it looked, I don’t think I have. (the third picture isn’t mine – I just wanted to find something else to help illustrate the incredible color of these wings)

I tried to think if there was an art history equivalent to the visual impact of this bird, and the best I can come up with is hanging a Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler on a black wall. Below left is Rothko’s “Number 14” from 1960, and below right is Frankenthaler’s “Canyon” from 1965.

paintings by Mark Rothko and Helen Frankenthaler