Today is Mark Rothko’s 111th birthday.
NAME: Mark Rothko
BIRTH DATE: September 25, 1903
DEATH DATE: February 25, 1970
EDUCATION: Yale University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Dvinsk, Russia
PLACE OF DEATH: New York, New York
Originally: Marcus Rothkovitch
BEST KNOWN FOR: Russian-born painter Mark Rothko was a pioneer of the Abstract Expressionist movement during the mid-20th century.
Born in Russia, painter Mark Rothko emigrated to the United States in the early 20th century and became a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism. His best-known works, a number of which are on very large canvases, involve the juxtaposition of large areas of melting colors.
Mark Rothko’s search to express profound emotion through painting culminated in his now-signature compositions of richly colored squares filling large canvases, evoking what he referred to as “the sublime.” One of the pioneers of Color Field Painting, Rothko’s abstract arrangements of shapes, ranging from the slightly surreal biomorphic ones in his early works to the dark squares and rectangles in later years, are intended to evoke the metaphysical through viewers’ communion with the canvas in a controlled setting. “I’m not an abstractionist,” he once said. “I’m interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” His “Rothko Chapel Paintings” (1964-1967), 14 wall-sized monochromatic black paintings installed in a non-denominational church in Houston, Texas, represent the realization of Rothko’s desire that his work be viewed in close quarters.