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Definition: Rothko, Mark from Philip's Encyclopedia

US painter, b. Russia. A leader of the New York school, he developed a highly individual style featuring large, rectangular areas of thinly layered, pale colours arranged parallel to each other. Towards the end of his life, Rothko introduced darker colours, notably maroon and black. Examples of this phase can be seen in his nine paintings from the late 1950s, entitled Black on Maroon and Red on Maroon.

Summary Article: Rothko, Mark
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Marcus Rothkovitch


US painter

Born in Dvinsk, Latvia, he emigrated with his family to the USA in 1913 and later studied at Yale (1921-23). Largely self-taught as an artist, he had his first one-man show in New York in 1933. During the 1940s he was influenced by Surrealism but by the early 1950s had evolved his own peaceful and meditative form of Abstract Expressionism, staining huge canvases with rectangular blocks of pure colour and later with sombre reds and blacks. Among his works in this style, which was dubbed "colour field painting", are Light, Earth, and Blue (1954) and The Black and the Red (1956). In 1958-59 he was commissioned to paint a series of murals for the Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building, New York, but he withheld them and in 1969 donated a selection of them to the Tate Gallery, London, eg Black on Maroon. On the day of their arrival in 1970 a cable from New York announced that he had been found dead in his studio. He had recently completed the decoration of the de Menil Chapel in Houston, Texas.

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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