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Biography of Mark Rothko
Mark Rothko was an intellectual of the highest level, a cultured man who loved music and literature; he was interested in philosophy, especially the writings of Nietzsche and Greek mythology. Influenced by the work of Matisse, Mark Rothko occupies a singular place within the New York School. The American painter Mark Rothko, whose real name is Marcus Rothkowitz, was born in 1903 in Dvinsk, Latvia.
His family left Russia in 1913 for the United States and settled in Portland, Oregon. Mark Rothko obtained a scholarship to Yale University, New Haven, which he attended from 1921 to 1923 before moving to New York. In 1925, he studied with Max Weber at the Art Students League. At just 25 years old, the young artist had his first group exhibition (at the Galerie des Chances in New York.) During the 1930s, Mark Rothko frequented artists of his generation, such as Milton Avery and Adolph Gottlieb. In 1933, he had his first solo exhibition at the Portland Museum of Art.
In 1936, Mark Rothko met artist Barnett Newman. In the early 1940s, he worked with Adolph Gottlieb on the development of a style of painting whose content is mythological, through simple forms inspired by primitive art.
In the 1945s, the artist incorporated several surrealist approaches and images into his works. Peggy Guggenheim exhibits him at Art of this Century in New York.
Between 1947 and 1949, Mark Rothko taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Together with artists David Hare, William Baziotes and Robert Motherwell, Mark Rothko founded the "Short-Term Theme" for student artists in New York in 1948.
The early 1950s marked a maturity of style in his work, with brightly colored rectangles seeming to levitate on the surface of the canvas.
In 1958, the artist painted monumental canvases for the Four Seasons restaurant in New York. The Museum of Modern Art in New York, devoted an important solo exhibition to him in 1961. Mark Rothko created murals for Harvard University in 1962 and in 1964, he accepted a mural commission for an interfaith chapel in Houston.
But this creative and recognition impulse is stopped by illness, an aortic aneurysm prevents him from painting large formats. Mark Rothko died in February 1970 in his New York studio. A year later the city of Houston inaugurated and consecrated the Rothko Chapel almost a year to the day after the artist's death.
In his paintings, Mark Rothko expresses himself exclusively by means of the color he places on the canvas in flat areas with indecisive edges, in moving surfaces, sometimes monochrome and some-times composed of variously colored stripes. He thus reaches a particularly sensitive spiritual dimension.