Friday, November 04, 2005

Mark Rothko



One of the preeminent artists of his generation, Mark Rothko is closely identified with the New York School, a circle of painters that emerged during the 1940s as a new collective voice in American art. During a career that spanned five decades, he created a new and impassioned form of abstract painting. Rothko's work is characterized by rigorous attention to formal elements such as color, shape, balance, depth, composition, and scale; yet, he refused to consider his paintings solely in these terms. He explained:

It is a widely accepted notion among painters that it does not matter what one paints as long as it is well painted. This is the essence of academicism. There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

Taken from the intro of this great website from the National Gallery of Art. Take a tour, read a bio, see some of the work. When we think of Rothko, we think of these large fields of color for which he is so famous. Equally facinating is reading about his development towards this style and seeing some of the earlier works.

8 comments:

Valeri said...

I love the work of Rothko. He really inspired me when I was in college in the 60's and I think that formed the basics for my love of colour. Thanks for posting about him!

Sonji Hunt said...

Gosh, I remember how much Rothko's work moved me when I was in college. We'd drive to Chicago and I'd sit in front of Rothko and Kline for hours. I watched some PBS documentary on him years and years ago and it was just heartbreaking how his soul seemed to suffer. Very emotional. I always wonder how he would have coped in this day and age.

Gerrie said...

You must know that I am a BIG fan of Rothko - would love to own a piece of his work!!

jenclair said...

In the earlier works, I like the way he handles symbols and images in a way that is only apparent after knowing the title, and while I'd love to be able to use symbols this way, I wouldn't want to look at those paintings every day.

BUT THE COLOR BLOCKS - so amazing in their simplicity - I could face one of those and appreciate it every single day from now until forever!

gabrielle said...

If you are ever in Houston, please visit the Rothko Chapel at St. Thomas University. You will be overwhelmed by the depth of sorrow shown in these paintings...and yet there is a felling of the great unknown that comes shining through.

Debra Spincic said...

As Gabrielle mentioned, Houston has the Rothko Chapel. If you sit on the stark benches, the colors will change as the light of day changes.

If I were disciplined enough, I would sit there all day as an Artist Date & watch the colors. Wouldn't that be interesting?

Lisa Call said...

There is no such thing as good painting about nothing.

I think this is a very valid point - just wanted to repeat it. I think about this often. What is my work about. Is it valid? Or am I full of ....

I'm currently reading the new bio about deKooning, another abstract expressionist. Very interesting reading. I highly recommend the book.

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