Saturday, 24 September 2016



Mark Rothko (/ˈrɒθk/), born Markus Yakovlevich Rotkovich (Russian: Ма́ркус Я́ковлевич Ротко́вич, Latvian: Markuss Rotkovičs) (September 25, 1903 – February 25, 1970), was an American painter of Russian Jewish descent. Although Rothko himself refused to adhere to any art movement, he is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist. With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.

The link takes you to a wonderful chronology of Rothkos transition in style, but he is most famous for his simple rectangular compositions using layers of brilliant colour. I would say that of all the abstract artists that have gone before, Rothko most captures my interest. I love the way he has pared down ideas until left with the simplest forms, however, he somehow creates curiosity and ongoing interest through his treatment of texture and interaction of colour.

After the second world war, Rothko’s work became increasingly abstract; perhaps ironically, Rothko himself described the process as being one toward "clarity."

“I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however . . . is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command!”

Rothkos influence on modern art in America is profound. Leslie Saeta is one of the latest artists working with his style in her Sea Glass series