also know as Marcus Rothkowitz, was a Russian abstract painter born in 1903. He emigrated to the
United States of America in August 1913 and grew up in Portland, Oregon.
His art is known for its subtle colors, firm structures, rich
variations, and absence of explicit imagery. Some people consider his paintings intellectual and sensuous.
During his lifetime, he was considered a “Cultural Leader” by a number of the rich and powerful. For
example, he attended J. F. Kennedy's inaugural party in 1961.
Mark Rothko attempted to enlist in the army
during WW II but failed the physical exam and was classified 4-F. Bouts of depression frequently caused
breaks in his productivity. His brilliant career ended in February 1970 as the result of a self-inflicted gun shot wound.
Rothko's work was prominently featured in the
recent movie “Changing Lanes” starring Ben Affleck and
Samuel L. Jackson. His
were even more prominent in the movie “Meet Joe Black”
starring Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins.
Since a lot of people currently seem obsessed with
“Subway Scene, 1938”, you may better
be able to understand the painting if you know that Rothko was still called Rothkowitz when he painted this in mid-November of that year. He
had just received his US citizenship a few months earlier and was into Nietzsche at the time.
If you want to explore the meaning of the painting further you might want to read the PhD thesis of William C. Seitz:
“Abstract-Expressionist Painting in America: An Interpretation Based on the Work and Thought of Six Key
Figures”, Princeton University, 1955.
Although many people seem to have great difficulty determining the vanishing point of this painting, it's not hard to find if one draws lines through the tops and bottoms of the columns on the left.
Below we list some of
Rothko's most famous paintings.
We welcome comments about them and invite you to vote for
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