by Joan M. Rehlin
Highlighting Rothko in this mini art history post…
Mark Rothko, né Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz (9/25/03–2/25/70), emigrated from Russia to the USA in 1913. At 17, he graduated with honors from secondary school and became adept at political discussions, promoting issues such as workers’ and women's rights. After attending Yale for two years, Rothko watched students sketch models in 1923 while he worked in New York’s garment district, and decided to turn to art. He took classes at several New York City art and design schools but considered himself mostly a self-taught artist.
Refusing to embrace any specific movement, Rothko was nonetheless credited with introducing Abstract Expressionism into the art world. His later works, especially, emphasize an emotional aspect, which is a component of Abstract Expressionism. Beginning in 1946, he created paintings that others labeled “multiforms,” which would eventually evolve into his signature style that displays horizontal blocks of contrasting color on immense vertical canvases. An example, shared here, is his Untitled (Yellow Red and Blue) oil on canvas. Several critics thought the size of his paintings was an attempt to hide a lack of substance. However, Rothko felt his large creations, with no human figures or landscape, possessed their own life force and allowed the viewer to feel “enveloped within” the painting.
Untitled (Yellow Red and Blue), oil on canvas, c. 1953, Mark Rothko
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Welcome to our Art Blog where we occasionally present topics of interest in the fine art world, including featuring artists other than Jim Rehlin. Some of the artwork has been created by long-departed but well-known greats; some, by compelling contemporary artists. All will be pieces we find worthwhile to share with you. If you like any of these, consider sharing the posts forward to your own blogs and other social media.