“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.” (Mark Rothko, 1959)
Mark Rothko (born Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz; September 25, 1903 – February 25, 1970), a Russian-American painter, is considered one of the greatest abstract expressionists that ever lived. Ironically, he detested this moniker, and even resisted classification as an “abstract painter” altogether. To date, 836 works by Rothko are known to exist, and though priceless, much of Rothko’s life was spent living in abject poverty – classically living the “starving artist” lifestyle. In yet another ironic twist, the settlement of his illustrious estate became the subject of the famous “Rothko Case”, which was a long-protracted litigatory matter between his daughter, the executors of his will, and his gallery, Marlborough Fine Art.
A previously unpublished manuscript by Rothko about his philosophies on art, The Artist’s Reality, was edited by his son, Christopher Rothko, and was published by Yale University Press in 2006. However, his uncanncy selection of interesting circular-lensed frames has never been explained.
(“No. 3/No. 13 Magenta, Black, Green on Orange”, 1949, 85 3/8″ × 65″ (216.5 × 164.8 cm), oil on canvas, Museum of Modern Art. An example of Rothko’s late period)