Mark Rothko


Artist Biography:

Mark Rothko was an American Abstract Expressionist painter, born at Dvinsk in Russia. Rothko emigrated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in 1913 and studied the liberal arts at Yale University 1921 to 1923. Rothko 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. He taught at Center Academy, Brooklyn from 1929 to 1952. His first one-man exhibition was at the Portland Art Museum in 1933. In the 1930s he painted pictures influenced by Milton Avery and Matisse, with simplified compositions and flat areas of colour. In association with Gottlieb, Rothko worked in a Surrealist idiom in 1942 to 1947, drawing upon the myths of antiquity as Jungian archetypes, and making watercolours and oils with calligraphic, biomorphic imagery related to Ernst and Miró, and horizontal zones of misty colour. Rothko turned to complete abstraction in 1947, with large soft-edged areas of colour, adopting by 1950 a symmetrical presentation. His later works became more sombre in colour. Rothko died in 1970 in New York by his own hand.

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