The Art of Mark Rothko

Explores the abstract art of 1940s and 1950s New York artist, Mark Rothko.

Mark Rothko was a founder of the New York School, an extraordinary group of artists that emerged as a leading cultural presence in the years following World War II. Rothko?s contributions consist of a few broad rectangles superposed and centered on large, tall canvases. The paper explains that Rothko desired something more weighty and grand, an art that could express not just the unconscious of an artist, but the spirit of mankind. The paper shows that the effect of Rothko?s images, as realized with his eloquent coloring, can be at once monumental and subtle, stunning and gradual. The paper includes several photographic examples of Rothko’s work, including Number 22, from 1949.
The astonishing body of work Rothko produced throughout the 1950s was both extraordinarily consistent and remarkably varied. Although he drastically reduced his forms to rectangles, he experimented with color range and the size and format of the canvas. Each of his paintings embodied its own totality and formed part of an intense dialogue with its companions. Rothko was constantly exploring, reshaping, and reevaluating form and color, and each painting is a testimony to the charged relationship he established with the canvas.