Sunday, March 23, 2014

Rothko, Mark

No. 5/No. 22
oil on canvas
297 x 272 cm
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA
-Fair use-

"The people who weep before my pictures are having the same religious experience I had when I painted them. And if you are only moved by color relationships, then you miss the point. I'm interested in expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom."(Mark Rothko)

Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. He is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist, although he himself rejected this label and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter." With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.

Mark Rothko immigrated to the United States (Portland, Oregon) from Russia with his family in his youth.
He studied the liberal arts at Yale University 1921-3, moved in 1925 to New York and studied for a short time at the Art Students League under Max Weber, then began to paint on his own. In the mid-20th century, he belonged to a circle of New York-based artists (also including Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock) who became known as the Abstract Expressionists.

By the 1950s, Rothko's art was completely abstract. He even preferred to number his canvases, rather than giving them descriptive titles. He had arrived at his signature style: working on a large, vertical canvas, he painted several colored rectangles of color floating against a colored background. Within this formula he found endless variations of color and proportion, resulting in different moods and effects. He used simplified means to evoke emotional responses. His later works became more sombre in color.
Rothko committed suicide in New York on February 25, 1970.