Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko (rŏth´kō), 1903–70, American painter, b. Russia. Rothko emigrated to the United States in 1913. He was a student of Max Weber, then came under the influence of the surrealists. In the mid-1940s Rothko experimented with abstraction, arranging intense colors in irregular shapes. Soon he became a leading exponent of a uniquely meditative and personal strain within the larger movement of abstract expressionism. His later works (e.g., No. 10, 1950; Mus. of Modern Art, New York City) frequently consist of floating rectangles of luminous color on enormous canvases that manage to simultaneously convey a deep sensuality and a profound spirituality. Rothko's images to some degree presaged some of the techniques of the later color-field painting. He collaborated with the architect Philip Johnson on the design of a chapel in Houston in the mid-1960s. Rothko committed suicide.

See his The Artist's Reality: Philosophies of Art (2004), ed. by his son, Christopher Rothko; biography by J. E. B. Breslin (1993); D. Anfam, Mark Rothko: the Works on Canvas: Catalogue Raisonné (1998); P. Selz, Mark Rothko (1972); L. Seldes, The Legacy of Mark Rothko (1978, repr. 1996); D. Ashton, About Rothko (1983, repr. 1996); A. C. Chave, Mark Rothko: Subjects in Abstraction (1989); M. Glimcher, ed., The Art of Mark Rothko (1991); D. Waldman, Mark Rothko in New York (1994); S. Nadelman, The Rothko Chapel Paintings (1996); L. Seldes, The Legacy of Mark Rothko (1996), J. S. Weiss et al., Mark Rothko (1998); K. Ottmann, The Essential Mark Rothko (2003).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Mark Rothko: Selected full-text books and articles

Mark Rothko By Peter Selz Doubleday, 1961
On Modern American Art: Selected Essays By Robert Rosenblum Harry N. Abrams Publishers, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Rothko's Surrealist Years" begins on p. 100, "Rothko and Tradition" begins on p. 109, and "My Life with Rothko" begin on p. 122
The Triumph of American Painting: A History of Abstract Expressionism By Irving Sandler Harper & Row, 1976
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Mark Rothko"
Embattled Critic: Views on Modern Art By John Canaday Farrar, Straus and Cudahy, 1962
Librarian’s tip: "Renunciation as Esthetics: Mark Rothko" begins on p. 141
Rothko: Emotion in the Abstract By May, Stephen The World and I, Vol. 13, No. 7, July 1998
Rothko's Material Beauty By Danto, Arthur C The Nation, Vol. 267, No. 21, December 21, 1998
Modern Painting: Contemporary Trends By Nello Ponente Skira, 1960
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 8 "Jackson Pollock, Mark Tobey, Sam Francis, Bradley Walker Tomlin, Mark Rothko"
Isn't It Romantic? By Rosenblum, Robert Artforum International, Vol. 36, No. 9, May 1998
Looking for a topic idea? Use Questia's Topic Generator
Author Advanced search


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.