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The Essential Mark Rothko
ISBN 0810958260 / 9780810958265 / 0-8109-5826-0
Publisher Harry N. Abrams
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Mark Rothko (1903-1970) is generally considered, along with Jackson Pollock (1912-1956), the preeminent artist of his generation. He is closely identified with the New York School, a group of painters that emerged during the 1940s and re-invented American art. Their radical and unique contribution to modern art became known as Abstract Expressionism. Rothko was one of the most prominent pioneers of abstract color painting, and, during a career that spanned five decades, he became America's foremost colorist. During his retrospective exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1961, Rothko was asked how long it took him to paint a particular painting that seemed to consist of merely a few large, formless blotches of color on canvas. Rothko dryly responded, "I'm 57 years old and it took me all my life to do it." So how did a 10-year old Russian immigrant boy named Marcus Rothkowitz, who arrived at Ellis Island in 1913 with his mother, become Mark Rothko, one of the greatest American abstract painters? Readers of The Essential Mark Rothko will learn that: In his youth, he wanted to be an actor, and that the theater remained his first love; He was largely self-taught; He painted figuratively for more than half of his life. [via]