Monday, 12 December 2016

Mark Rothko - part 1

1936 Rothko with Pipe by Milton Avery
drypoint on paper 18.3 x 17.2 cm
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016
Mark Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Dvinsk, Russia in 1903. At the age of ten, Rothko and his mother and sister immigrated to America to join his father and brothers, who had previously settled in Portland, Oregon. From 1921 to 1923 Rothko attended Yale University on a full scholarship and then moved to New York City. In 1924 he enrolled in the Art Students League, studying with George Bridgman and Max Weber, in whose class he befriended Louis Harris. In 1929 Rothko began teaching children at the Centre Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Centre, a position he retained for more than twenty years.
He was given his first one-man exhibition in 1933 at the Museum of Art in Portland and his first in New York a few months later at the Contemporary Arts Gallery. The New York exhibition included landscapes, nudes, portraits, and city scenes. At the end of 1934 Rothko participated in an exhibition at the Gallery Secession, whose members included Louis Harris, Adolph Gottlieb, Ilya Bolotowsky and Joseph Solman; several months later they left the Secession to form their own group, the Ten, which exhibited together eight times between 1935 and 1939. Rothko's paintings in the Ten's exhibitions were expressionist in style. During this period he was employed by the WPA, (Works Progress Administration), where he produced many subway scenes emphasising the isolation of the riders.
From the later 1930s to 1946 Rothko's oil and watercolour paintings reflected his interest in Greek mythology, primitive art, and Christian tragedy. In 1940, Rothko, along with his colleagues Gottlieb, Bolotowsky and Harris, broke with the American Artists' Congress on political grounds and became founding members of the Federation of Modern Painters and Sculptors. He was given, in 1945, a one-man exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim's gallery Art of This Century, which featured his surrealist works. At the end of the year he was included in the Whitney Museum of America Art's “Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting.” In 1948 he joined William Baziotes, David Hare, and Robert Motherwell in founding an art school, the Subjects of the Artist, which closed within a year.
By 1947 Rothko had eliminated all elements of surrealism or mythic imagery from his works, and non-objective compositions of indeterminate shapes emerged. Within three years he reached his signature format, painting two or three soft-edged, luminescent rectangles, stacked weightlessly on top of one another, floating horizontally against a ground. Now a recognised artist of the New York School, he was given, in 1954, a one-man exhibition by the Art Institute of Chicago. In 1958 Rothko accepted his first commission for a series of paintings for the Four Seasons restaurant. He received his second commission for murals in 1961 for the Holyoke Centre at Harvard University. From 1964 to 1967 Rothko worked on his third and last commission, a Roman Catholic chapel in Houston, now interdenominational, creating fourteen canvases, numerically corresponding to the Stations of the Cross. From 1968 on, he worked in acrylic on canvas and paper, reducing his palette to brown, grey, and black.

Rothko was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1968. The following year Yale University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree. In 1970 Rothko committed suicide in his studio. Biographical notes from “Painting a Place in America: Jewish Artists in New York 1900-1945” National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC


This is part 1 of a 6 - part post on the works of Mark Rothko:


n.d. Seated Man Holding a Cigarette
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

n.d. Seated Woman Holding a Stringed Instrument
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

n.d. Untitled
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1933-34 Untitled (Three Nudes)
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1934-35 Untitled ( Man with Green Face )
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1934-35 Untitled ( Woman with Sculpture )
oil on linen 35.5 x 60.9 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1934c Untitled ( Water Scene )
watercolour on paper 38.1 x 48.3 cm
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1936 Interior
oil on hardboard 60.6 x 46.4 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1936 Rural Scene
oil on canvas 68.5 x 96.8 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1936-37 Street Scene
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1937 Subway
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1937-38 Untitled ( Reclining Nude )
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1937-38 Untitled
oil on canvas 60.7 x 46.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1937c Street Scene
oil on canvas 73.5 x 101.4 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1937c Untitled
oil on canvas 101.6 x 76.2 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1938 Entrance to Subway
oil on canvas 86.4 x 117.5 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1938 Untitled
oil on canvas 127 x 94 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1939 Untitled
oil on canvas 101.6 x 76.5 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1940 Underground Fantasy
oil on canvas 87.3 x 118.2 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1940 Untitled
watercolour and tempera 73.7 x 53.6 cm
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1940c Untitled ( Man and Two Women in a Pastoral Setting )
graphite and oil on canvas 72.4 x 91.4 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941-42 Crucifix
oil on canvas 68.6 x 63.8 cm
Washburn Gallery, New York City
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941-42 Heads
oil on canvas 50.8 x 71.1 cm
Washburn Gallery, New York City
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko-DACS 2016

1941-42 In Limbo
oil on canvas 81.3 x 61 cm
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941-42 Untitled
graphite and oil on linen 61 x 81 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941-42 Untitled
oil on canvas 76 x 91.3 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941-42 Untitled
oil on canvas 91 x 60.6 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1941c Antigone
oil and charcoal on canvas 86.4 x 116.2 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1942 Sacrifice of Iphigenia
oil on canvas127 x 93.7 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1942 Untitled
oil on canvas 71.3 x 92 cm
Guggenheim, New York City
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1942 Untitled
oil on canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1942 Untitled
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1943 No.7599 Untitled (1280)
watercolour on paper 57.1 x 39.4 cm
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko-DACS 2016

1944 Agitation of the Archaic
oil on canvas 89.7 x 137.8 cm
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Aubade
gouache 64.1 x 48.3 cm
The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Gethsemane
oil and charcoal on canvas 138.1 x 90.3 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Gyrations on Four Planes
oil on canvas
Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Hierarchical Birds
oil on canvas 100.7 x 80.5 cm
National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Primaeval Landscape
oil on canvas 128 x 88.9 cm
Private Collection
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea
oil on canvas 215.2 x 191.4 cm
Museum of Modern Art, New York City
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Untitled 2
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

1944 Untitled 3
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko/DACS 2016

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