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"Blue and Gray", Oil by Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) (1903-1970, Latvia)

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Abstract Expressionism Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) , Oil Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz)
'Blue and Gray', Oil by Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) (1903-1970, Latvia)
Abstract Expressionism Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) , Oil Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz)



 
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Mark Rothko, born Marcus Rothkowitz (September 25, 1903 – February 25, 1970), was a Latvian-born American painter. He is classified as an abstract expressionist, although he himself rejected this label, and even resisted classification as an "abstract painter".

Childhood

Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) was born in Dvinsk, Vitebsk Province, Russian Empire (now Daugavpils, Latvia). His father, Jacob Rothkowitz, was a pharmacist and an intellectual, who provided his children with a secular and political, rather than religious, upbringing. Unlike Jews in most cities of Czarist Russia, those in Dvinsk had been spared from violent outbreaks of anti-Semitic pogroms. However, in an environment where Jews were often blamed for many of the evils that befell Russia, Rothko’s early childhood was plagued with fear.

Despite Jacob Rothkowitz's modest income, the family was highly educated, and able to speak Russian, Yiddish and Hebrew. Following Jacob's return to Orthodox Judaism, he sent Marcus, his youngest son, to the cheder at age 5, where he studied the Talmud although his elder siblings had been educated in the public school system.

Emigration from Russia to the U.S.

Fearing that his sons were about to be drafted into the Czarist army, Jacob Rothkowitz emigrated from Russia to the United States. Marcus remained in Russia with his mother and elder sister Sonia. They joined Jacob and the elder brothers later, arriving at Ellis Island in the winter of 1913. Marcus started school in the United States in 1913, quickly accelerating from third to fifth grade, and completed the secondary level with honors at Lincoln High School in Portland, in June 1921 at the age of 17. He learned his fourth language, English, and became an active member of the Jewish community center, where he proved adept at political discussions. Like his father, Rothko was passionate about such issues as workers’ rights and women's right to contraception.

He received a scholarship to Yale based on academic performance. Rothko found the "WASP" Yale community to be elitist and racist. He and Aaron Director started a satirical magazine, The Yale Saturday Evening Pest, which lampooned the school’s stuffy, bourgeois attitude. Following his second year, Rothko dropped out, and did not return until he was awarded an honorary degree 46 years later.

Early career

In the autumn of 1923, Rothko found work in New York's garment district and took up residence on the Upper West Side. While visiting a friend at the Art Students League of New York, he saw students sketching a model. According to Rothko, this was the beginning of his life as an artist. Even his self-described "beginning" at the Art Students League of New York was not whole-hearted commitment; two months after he returned to Portland to visit his family, he joined a theater group run by Clark Gable’s wife, Josephine Dillon. Whatever his dramatic ability may have been, he looked nothing like the successful actors of the day, and professional acting seemed an improbable career.

Returning to New York, Rothko briefly enrolled in the New School of Design, where one of his instructors was the artist Arshile Gorky. This was probably his first encounter with a member of the "avant-garde". That autumn, he took courses at the Art Students League of New York taught by still-life artist Max Weber, a fellow Russian Jew. It was due to Weber that Rothko began to see art as a tool of emotional and religious expression, and Rothko’s paintings from this era reveal a Weberian influence.

Rothko’s circle

Rothko’s move to New York established him in a fertile artistic atmosphere. Modernist painters had shows in the New York galleries, and the city’s museums were an invaluable resource to foster a budding artist’s knowledge, experience and skills. Among those early influences were the works of the German Expressionists, the surrealist work of Paul Klee, and the paintings of Georges Rouault. In 1928, Rothko exhibited works with a group of other young artists at the appropriately named Opportunity Gallery. His paintings included dark, moody, expressionist interiors, as well as urban scenes, and were generally well accepted among critics and peers. Despite modest success, Rothko still needed to supplement his income, and in 1929 he began giving classes in painting and clay sculpture at the Center Academy, where he remained as teacher until 1952. During this time, he met Adolph Gottlieb, who, along with Barnett Newman, Joseph Solman, Louis Schanker, and John Graham, was part of a group of young artists surrounding the painter Milton Avery, fifteen years Rothko’s senior. Avery’s stylized, natural scenes, utilizing a rich knowledge of form and color, would be a tremendous influence on Rothko. Soon Rothko's paintings took on Averian subject matter and color, as in Bathers, or Beach Scene of 1933/34.

Rothko, Gottlieb, Newman, Solman, Graham, and their mentor, Avery, spent considerable time together, vacationing at Lake George and Gloucester, Massachusetts, spending their days painting and their evenings discussing art. During a 1932 visit to Lake George, Rothko met Edith Sachar, a jewelry designer, whom he married on November 12. The following summer, Rothko’s first one-man show was held at the Portland Art Museum, consisting mostly of drawings and aquarelles, as well as the works of Rothko’s pre-adolescent students from the Center Academy. His family was unable to understand Rothko’s decision to be an artist, especially considering the dire economic situation of the Depression. Having suffered serious financial setbacks, the Rothkowitzes were mystified by Rothko’s seeming indifference to financial necessity; they felt he was doing his mother a disservice by not finding a more lucrative and realistic career.

First one-man show in New York

Returning to New York, Rothko had his first East Coast one-man show at the Contemporary Arts Gallery. He showed fifteen oil paintings, mostly portraits, along with some aquarelles and drawings. It was the oils that would capture the critics’ eye; Rothko’s use of rich fields of colors moved beyond Avery's influence. In late 1935, Rothko joined with Ilya Bolotowsky, Ben-Zion, Adolph Gottlieb, Lou Harris, Ralph Rosenborg, Louis Schanker and Joseph Solman to form "The Ten", whose mission was "to protest against the reputed equivalence of American painting and literal painting." Rothko's style was already evolving in the direction of his renowned later works, yet, despite this newfound exploration of color, Rothko turned his attention to another formal and stylistic innovation, inaugurating a period of surrealist paintings influenced by mythological fables and symbols. He was earning a growing reputation among his peers, particularly among the group that formed the Artists' Union. Begun in 1937, and including Gottlieb and Soloman, the group's plan was to create a municipal art gallery to show self-organized group exhibitions. The Artists' Union was a cooperative which brought together resources and talent of various artists to create an atmosphere of mutual admiration and self-promotion. In 1936, the group showed at the Galerie Bonaparte in France. Then, in 1938, a show was held at the Mercury Gallery, in direct defiance of the Whitney Museum, which the group regarded as having a provincial, regionalist agenda. It was also during this period that Rothko, like many artists, found employment with the Works Progress Administration, a labor relief agency created under Roosevelt’s New Deal in response to the economic crisis. As the Depression waned, Rothko continued on in government service, working for TRAP, an agency that employed artists, architects and laborers in the restoration and renovation of public buildings. Many other important artists were also employed by TRAP, including Avery, DeKooning, Pollock, Reinhardt, David Smith, Louise Nevelson, eight of the "Ten" artists of the dissenter group, and Rothko’s old teacher, Arshile Gorky.

Development of style

In 1936, Rothko began writing a book, never completed, about similarities in the art of children and the work of modern painters. According to Rothko, the work of modernists, influenced by primitive art, could be compared to that of children in that "child art transforms itself into primitivism, which is only the child producing a mimicry of himself." In this manuscript, he observed that "the fact that one usually begins with drawing is already academic. We start with color."

Rothko was using fields of color in his aquarelles and city scenes, and his subject matter and form at this time had become non-intellectual.

Rothko's work matured from representation and mythological subjects into rectangular fields of color and light, that later culminated – or self-destructed – in his final works for the Rothko Chapel. However, between the primitivist and playful urban scenes and aquarelles of the early period, and the late, transcendent fields of color, was a period of transition. It was a rich and complex milieu which included two important events in Rothko’s life: the onset of World War II, and his reading of Friedrich Nietzsche.

Maturity

Rothko separated from his wife, Edith Sachar, in the summer of 1937. He and Sachar reconciled several months later, yet their relationship remained tense. On February 21, 1938, Rothko finally became a citizen of the United States, prompted by fears that the growing Nazi influence in Europe might provoke sudden deportation of American Jews.

In a related political development, following the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939, Rothko, along with Avery, Gottlieb, and others, left the American Artists’ Congress in order to dissociate themselves from the Congress’ alignment with radical Communism. In June, Rothko and a number of other artists formed the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. Their aim was to keep their art free from political propaganda. A rise of Nazi sympathy in the United States heightened Rothko's fears of anti-Semitism, and in January 1940, he abbreviated his name from "Marcus Rothkowitz" to "Mark Rothko". The name "Roth," a common abbreviation, had become, as a result of its commonality, identifiably Jewish, therefore he settled upon "Rothko".

Inspiration from mythology

Fearing that modern American painting had reached a conceptual dead end, Rothko was intent upon exploring subjects other than urban and natural scenes. He sought subjects that would complement his growing concern with form, space, and color. The world crisis of war lent this search an immediacy, because he insisted that the new subject matter be of social impact, yet able to transcend the confines of current political symbols and values.

Rothko’s use of mythology as a commentary on current history was not novel. Rothko, Gottlieb, and Newman read and discussed the works of Freud and Jung, in particular their theories concerning dreams and the archetypes of the collective unconscious, and understood mythological symbols as images that refer to themselves, operating in a space of human consciousness that transcends specific history and culture. Rothko later said his artistic approach was "reformed" by his study of the "dramatic themes of myth." He apparently stopped painting altogether for the length of 1940, and read Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams and Frazer’s Golden Bough.

Influence of Nietzsche

Rothko’s new vision would attempt to address modern man’s spiritual and creative mythological requirements. The most crucial philosophical influence on Rothko in this period was Friedrich Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy. Nietzsche claimed that Greek tragedy had the function of the redemption of man from the terrors of mortal life. The exploration of novel topics in modern art ceased to be Rothko’s goal; from this point on, his art would bear the ultimate aim of relieving modern man’s spiritual emptiness. He believed that this "emptiness" was created partly by the lack of a mythology, which could, as described by Nietzsche," the growth of a child’s mind and - to a mature man his life and struggles".

Rothko believed that his art could free the unconscious energies previously liberated by mythological images, symbols, and rituals. He considered himself a "mythmaker," and proclaimed "the exhilarated tragic experience, is for me the only source of art."

Many of his paintings of this period contrast barbaric scenes of violence with those of civilized passivity, with imagery drawn primarily from Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy. Rothko’s cross-cultural, trans-historical reading of myth perfectly addresses the psychological and emotional roots of the symbol, making it universally available to anyone who might wish to see it.

"Mythomorphic" Abstractionism

At the root of Rothko and Gottlieb’s presentation of archaic forms and symbols as subject matter illuminating modern existence had been the influence of Surrealism, Cubism, and abstract art. In 1936, Rothko attended two exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, "Cubism and Abstract Art," and "Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism," which greatly influenced his celebrated 1938 Subway Scene.

In 1942, following the success of shows by Ernst, Miró, Tanguy, and Salvador Dalí, who had immigrated to the United States because of the war, Surrealism took New York by storm. Rothko and his peers, Gottlieb and Newman, met and discussed the art and ideas of these European pioneers, especially those of Mondrian. They began to regard themselves as heirs to the European avant-garde.

With mythic form as a catalyst, they would merge the two European styles of Surrealism and abstraction. As a result, Rothko’s work became increasingly abstract; perhaps ironically, Rothko himself described the process as being one toward "clarity."

New paintings were unveiled at a 1942 show at Macy’s department store in New York City. In response to a negative review by the New York Times, Rothko and Gottlieb issued a manifesto. Rothko's vision of myth as a replenishing resource for an era of spiritual void had been set in motion decades before, by his reading of Carl Jung, T. S. Eliot, James Joyce and Thomas Mann, among others.

Break with Surrealism

On June 13, 1943, Rothko and Sachar separated again. Rothko suffered a long depression following their divorce. Rothko returned to Portland. From there he traveled to Berkeley, where he met artist Clyfford Still, and the two began a close friendship. Still’s deeply abstract paintings would be of considerable influence on Rothko’s later works. In the autumn of 1943, Rothko returned to New York, where he met noted collector Peggy Guggenheim. Her assistant, Howard Putzel, convinced Guggenheim to show Rothko in her The Art of This Century Gallery. During this period, Rothko had been stimulated by Still’s abstract landscapes of color, and his style shifted away from surrealism. Rothko's experiments in interpreting the unconscious symbolism of everyday forms had run their course.

Rothko's 1945 masterpiece, "Slow Swirl at Edge of Sea" illustrates his newfound propensity towards abstraction. Sometimes it is interpreted as a meditation on Rothko’s courtship of his second wife, Mary Ellen Beistle, whom he met in 1944 and married in the spring of 1945. The painting presents two humanlike forms embraced in a swirling, floating atmosphere of shapes and colors, in subtle grays and browns. The rigid rectangular background foreshadows Rothko’s later experiments in pure color. The painting was completed, not coincidentally, in the year the Second World War ended.

Rothko's "multiforms"

The year 1946 saw the creation of Rothko’s transitional "multiform" paintings. The term "multiform" has been applied by art critics; this word was never used by Rothko himself, yet it is an accurate description of these paintings. Several of them, including No. 18 (1948) and Untitled (also 1948), are masterpieces in their own right. Rothko himself described these paintings as possessing a more organic structure, and as self-contained units of human expression. For Rothko, these blurred blocks of various colors, devoid of landscape or human figure, let alone myth and symbol, possessed their own life force. They contained a "breath of life" he found lacking in most figurative painting of the era. This new form seemed filled with possibility, whereas his experimentation with mythological symbolism had become a tired formula, in much the same way as he viewed his late 1930s experiments in urban settings. The "multiforms" brought Rothko to a realization of his mature, signature style, and was the only style Rothko would never fully abandon prior to his death.

Rothko, in the middle of a crucial period of transition, had been impressed by Clyfford Still’s abstract fields of color, which were influenced in part by the landscapes of Still’s native North Dakota. In 1947, during a summer semester teaching at the California School of Fine Art, Rothko and Still flirted with the idea of founding their own curriculum, and they realized the idea in New York in the following year. Named "The Subjects of the Artists School," they employed David Hare and Robert Motherwell, among others. Though the group was short-lived and separated later in the same year, the school was the center of a flurry of activity in contemporary art. In addition to his teaching experience, Rothko began to contribute articles to two new art publications, "Tiger’s Eye" and "Possibilities". Using the forums as an opportunity to assess the current art scene, Rothko also discussed in detail his own artwork and philosophy of art. These articles reflect the elimination of figurative elements from his work. He described his new method as "unknown adventures in an unknown space," free from "direct association with any particular, and the passion of organism."

In 1949, Rothko became fascinated by Matisse’s Red Studio, acquired by the Museum of Modern Art that year. He later credited it as a key source of inspiration for his later abstract paintings.

Late period

Soon, the "multiforms" developed into the signature style; by early 1949 Rothko exhibited these new works at the Betty Parsons Gallery. For critic Harold Rosenberg, the paintings were nothing short of a revelation. Rothko had, after painting his first "multiform," secluded himself to his home in East Hampton on Long Island. He invited only a select few, including Rosenberg, to view the new paintings. The discovery of his definitive form came at a period of great distress to the artist; his mother Kate died in October 1948. It was at some point during that winter that Rothko happened upon the use of symmetrical rectangular blocks of two to three opposing or contrasting, yet complementary, colors, in which, for example, "the rectangles sometimes seem barely to coalesce out of the ground, concentrations of its substance. The green bar in "Magenta, Black, Green on Orange", on the other hand, appears to vibrate against the orange around it, creating an optical flicker." Additionally, for the next seven years, Rothko painted in oil only on large canvases with vertical formats. Very large-scale designs were used in order to overwhelm the viewer, or, in Rothko’s words, to make the viewer feel "enveloped within" the painting. For some critics, the large size was an attempt to make up for a lack of substance.

Rothko used several original techniques that he tried to keep secret even from his assistants. Electron microscopy and ultraviolet analysis conducted by the MOLAB showed that he employed natural substances such as egg and glue, as well as artificial materials including acrylic resins, phenol formaldehyde, modified alkyd, and others. One of his objectives was to make the various layers of the painting dry quickly, without mixing of colors, such that he could soon create new layers on top of the earlier ones.

European travels

Rothko and his wife visited Europe for five months in early 1950. The last time he had been in Europe was during his childhood in Latvia, at that time part of Russia. Yet he did not return to his motherland, preferring to visit the important museums of England, France and Italy. He much admired European art, and he visited the major museums of Paris. Besides viewing many paintings, the architecture and the music of Europe left a deep impression on Rothko. The frescoes of Fra Angelico in the monastery of San Marco at Florence most impressed him. Angelico’s intimately bright tempera frescoes magnificently contrast with the grandeur and monastic serenity of the surrounding architecture. Certainly the spirituality and concentration on light appealed to Rothko’s sensibilities, as did Angelico’s economic circumstances, which Rothko saw as similar to his own, having always been forced to struggle to exist as an artist.

Of Angelico, Rothko stated "As an artist you have to be a thief and steal a place for yourself on the rich man’s wall." He felt he was still struggling, despite some promising developments, including the sale of a painting for one thousand dollars to Mrs. John D. Rockefeller III and the purchase of "Number 10" (1950) for the Museum of Modern Art.

Rothko had one-man shows at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1950 and 1951, and at other galleries across the world, including Japan, São Paulo and Amsterdam. The 1952 "Fifteen Americans" show curated by Dorothy Canning Miller at the Museum of Modern Art formally heralded the abstract artists, including works by Jackson Pollock and William Baziotes. It also created a dispute between Rothko and Barnett Newman, after Newman accused Rothko of having attempted to exclude him from the show. Growing success as a group led to infighting, and claims to supremacy and leadership. When "Fortune" magazine named a Rothko painting as a good investment, Newman and Still, out of jealousy, branded him a sell-out, secretly possessing bourgeois aspirations. Still wrote to Rothko to request the paintings he had given Rothko over the years. Rothko was deeply depressed by his former friends’ jealousy.

During the 1950 Europe trip, Rothko's wife became pregnant. On December 30, when they were back in New York, she gave birth to a daughter, Kathy Lynn, called "Kate" in honor of Rothko’s mother.

Reactions to his own increasing success

Shortly thereafter, due to the Fortune magazine plug and further purchases by clients, Rothko’s financial situation began to improve. In addition to sales of paintings, he also had money from his teaching position at Brooklyn College. In 1954, he exhibited in a solo show at the Art Institute of Chicago, where he met art dealer Sidney Janis, who represented Pollock and Franz Kline. Their relationship proved mutually beneficial.

Despite his fame, Rothko felt a growing personal seclusion, and a sense of being misunderstood as an artist. He feared that people purchased his paintings simply out of fashion, and that the true purpose of his work was not being grasped by collectors, audiences or critics. He wanted his paintings to move beyond abstraction, as well as beyond classical art. For Rothko, the paintings were objects that possessed their own form and potential, and therefore, must be encountered as such. Sensing the futility of words in describing this decidedly non-verbal aspect of his work, Rothko abandoned all attempts at responding to those that might inquire after its meaning and purpose, stating finally that silence is "so accurate."

For Rothko, color is "merely an instrument." The "multiforms" and the signature paintings are, in essence, the same expression of "basic human emotions," as his surrealistic mythological paintings, albeit in a more pure form. What is common among these stylistic innovations is a concern for "tragedy, ecstasy and doom." Rothko’s comment on viewers breaking down in tears before his paintings that may have convinced the De Menils to construct the Rothko Chapel. Whatever Rothko’s feeling about the audience or the critical establishment’s interpretation of his work, it is apparent that, by 1958, the spiritual expression he meant to portray on canvas was growing increasingly dark. His bright reds, yellows and oranges were subtly transformed into dark blues, greens, grays and blacks.

Seagram Murals / Four Seasons Restaurant artistic commission

In 1958, Rothko was awarded the first of two major mural commissions that proved both rewarding and frustrating. The beverage company Joseph Seagram and Sons had recently completed their new building on Park Avenue, designed by architects Mies Van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. Rothko agreed to provide paintings for the building’s new luxury restaurant, The Four Seasons.

For Rothko, this commission presented a new challenge for it was the first time he was required not only to design a coordinated series of paintings, but to produce an artwork space concept for a large, specific interior. Over the following three months, Rothko completed forty paintings, three full series in dark red and brown. He altered his horizontal format to vertical to complement the restaurant’s vertical features: columns, walls, doors and windows.

The following June, Rothko and his family again traveled to Europe. While on the SS Independence he disclosed to John Fischer, publisher of Harper's, that his true intention for the Seagram murals was to paint "something that will ruin the appetite of every son-of-a-bitch who ever eats in that room. If the restaurant would refuse to put up my murals, that would be the ultimate compliment. But they won’t. People can stand anything these days."

While in Europe, the Rothkos traveled to Rome, Florence, Venice and Pompeii. In Florence, he visited the library at San Lorenzo, to see first-hand the library’s Michelangelo room, from which he drew further inspiration for the murals. He remarked that the "room had exactly the feeling that I wanted it gives the visitor the feeling of being caught in a room with the doors and windows walled-in shut." Following the trip to Italy, the Rothkos voyaged to Paris, Brussels, Antwerp and Amsterdam, before returning to the United States.

Once back in New York, Rothko and wife Mell visited the near-completed Four Seasons restaurant. Upset with the restaurant’s dining atmosphere, which he considered pretentious and inappropriate for the display of his works, Rothko immediately refused to continue the project, and returned the commission cash advance to the Seagram and Sons Company. Seagram had intended to honor Rothko's emergence to prominence through his selection, and his breach of contract and public expression of outrage were unexpected. (According to John Lahr's article "Escape Artist", Rothko had expected his paintings to be displayed in the lobby of the Seagram Building, and discontinued the project when he learned they were to be hung in the restaurant.)

Rothko kept the commissioned paintings in storage until 1968. Given that Rothko had known in advance about the luxury decor of the restaurant and the social class of its future patrons, the exact motives for his abrupt repudiation remain mysterious. Rothko never fully explained his conflicted emotions over the incident, which exemplified his temperamental personality. The final series of Seagram Murals was dispersed and now hangs in three locations: London’s Tate Modern, Japan’s Kawamura Memorial Museum and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Rising prominence in the United States

Rothko’s first completed space was created in the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., following the purchase of four paintings by collector Duncan Phillips. Rothko’s fame and wealth had substantially increased; his paintings began to sell to notable collectors, including the Rockefellers. In January 1961, Rothko sat next to Joseph Kennedy at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball. Later that year, a retrospective of his work was held at the Museum of Modern Art, to considerable commercial and critical success. In spite of this newfound notoriety, the art world had already turned its attention from the now passé abstract expressionists to the "next big thing", Pop Art, particularly the work of Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Rosenquist. Rothko labeled Pop-Art artists "charlatans and young opportunists". It was not that Rothko could not accept being replaced, so much as an inability to accept what was replacing him: he found it vapid.

Rothko received a second mural commission project, this time a wall of paintings for the penthouse of Harvard University’s Holyoke Center. He made twenty-two sketches, from which six murals were completed and only five were installed. Harvard President Nathan Pusey, following an explanation of the religious symbology of the Triptych, had the paintings hung in January 1963, and later shown at the Guggenheim. During installation, Rothko found the paintings to be compromised by the room’s lighting. Despite the installation of fiberglass shades, the paintings were removed in the late 1970s and, due to the fugitive nature of some of the red pigments, were placed in dark storage and only displayed periodically.

On August 31, 1963, Mell gave birth to a second child, Christopher. That autumn, Rothko signed with the Marlborough Gallery for sales of his work outside the United States. Stateside, he continued to sell the artwork directly from his studio. Bernard Reis, Rothko’s financial advisor, was also, unbeknownst to the artist, the Gallery’s accountant and, together with his co-workers, were later responsible for one of art history’s largest scandals.

Suicide and aftermath

In the spring of 1968, Rothko was diagnosed with a mild aortic aneurysm. Ignoring doctor’s orders, Rothko continued to drink and smoke heavily, avoided exercise, and maintained an unhealthy diet. However, he did follow the medical advice given not to paint pictures larger than a yard in height, and turned his attention to smaller, less physically strenuous formats, including acrylics on paper. Meanwhile, Rothko's marriage had become increasingly troubled, and his poor health and impotence resulting from the aneurysm compounded his feeling of estrangement in the relationship. Rothko and his wife Mell separated on New Year’s Day 1969, and he moved into his studio.

On February 25, 1970, Oliver Steindecker, Rothko’s assistant, found the artist in his kitchen, lying dead on the floor in front of the sink, covered in blood. He had sliced his arms with a razor found lying at his side. During autopsy it was discovered he had also overdosed on anti-depressants. He was 66 years old. The Seagram Murals on display at the Tate Gallery arrived in London on the very day of his suicide.

Rothko's remains were first buried in East Marion Cemetery on the North Fork of Long Island, New York. Beginning in 2006, Rothko's children sought to disinter Rothko's remains and reinter them, together with his wife's remains, in Sharon Gardens in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York. The transfer of Rothko's remains was permitted in April 2008.
[Biography - Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) - 33Ko]
Mark Rothko, né Marcus Rothkowitz (25 Septembre 1903 - Février 25, 1970), était un peintre américain d'origine lettone. Il est classé comme un expressionniste abstrait, quoique lui-même a rejeté cette étiquette, et même résisté à la classification comme un "peintre abstrait". Enfance Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) est né à Dvinsk, ...
[Biography - Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) - 33Ko]
Mark Rothko, geboren Marcus Rothkowitz (25. September 1903 - 25. Februar 1970) war ein lettisch-amerikanischen Malers geboren. Er gilt als einer abstrakten Expressionisten eingestuft, obwohl er selbst lehnte dieses Etikett, und selbst widerstanden Klassifizierung als "abstrakter Maler". Kindheit Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) wurde...
[Biography - Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) - 28Ko]
Mark Rothko, nato Marcus Rothkowitz (25 settembre 1903 - 25 febbraio 1970), è stato un pittore lettone-americano nato. E 'classificato come espressionista astratto, anche se lui stesso rifiutato questa etichetta, e persino resistito classificazione come "pittore astratto". Infanzia Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) è nato a Dvinsk, Vi...
[Biography - Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) - 27Ko]
Mark Rothko, nacido Marcus Rothkowitz (25 septiembre 1903-25 febrero 1970), fue un pintor estadounidense de origen letón. Es clasificado como un expresionista abstracto, aunque él mismo rechazó esta etiqueta, e incluso resistió clasificación como "pintor abstracto". Infancia Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz, Mark Rotkovich) nació en Dvinsk, provincia...
[Biography - Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) - 30Ko]

 

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"Blue and Gray", Oil by Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz) (1903-1970, Latvia)
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Mark Rothko (Marcus Rothkowitz)
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