Rothko, Mark

Rothko, Mark rŏth´kō [key], 1903–70, American painter, b. Dvinsk, Russia (now Daugavpils, Latvia), as Marcus Rotkovitch. His family immigrated to the United States in 1913. He was a student of Max Weber , then came under the influence of the surrealists. In the mid-1940s Rothko experimented with abstraction, arranging intense colors in irregular shapes. Soon he became a leading exponent of a uniquely meditative and personal strain within the larger movement of abstract expressionism . His later works (e.g., No. 10, 1950 Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) frequently consist of floating rectangles of luminous color on enormous canvases that manage to convey simultaneously a deep sensuality and a profound spirituality. Rothko's images to some degree presaged some of the techniques of the later color-field painting . He collaborated with the architect Philip Johnson on the design of a chapel in Houston in the mid-1960s. Rothko committed suicide.

See his The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art (1940, pub. 2004 ed. by his son, C. Rothko), and his Writings on Art (1934–69, pub. 2006 ed. by M. Lopez-Remiro) D. Anfam, Mark Rothko: The Works on Canvas: Catalogue Raisonné (1998) biographies by J. E. B. Breslin (1993) and A. Cohen-Solal (2015) P. Selz, Mark Rothko (1972) L. Seldes, The Legacy of Mark Rothko (1978, repr. 1996) D. Ashton, About Rothko (1983, repr. 1996) A. C. Chave, Mark Rothko: Subjects in Abstraction (1989) M. Glimcher, ed., The Art of Mark Rothko (1991) D. Waldman, Mark Rothko in New York (1994) S. Nadelman, The Rothko Chapel Paintings (1996) L. Seldes, The Legacy of Mark Rothko (1996), J. S. Weiss et al., Mark Rothko (1998) K. Ottmann, The Essential Mark Rothko (2003).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: American and Canadian Art: Biographies

Browse by Subject

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.