Reprinted from:
Honar Nameh
University of Art, Tehran
No. 11, 2001
( A brief of the article)







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Research
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Mark Rothko's Dark Paintings

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Art
 
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Mark Rothko (1903-1970) was born in Russia. He is considered one of the leading figures of abstract expressionist painting. He is one of the best known members of the New York School and the founder of "Color Field Painting".

He went to the United States in 1913 and he studied with Weber at Yale University. During the 1930's and 1940's, he mastered the expressionist and surrealist styles, but in 1947, he began his own new style.

His compositions usually consist of rectangles of intense color with blurred edges floating on a silent background. His paintings are often large, pensive and impart serenity. His late works tend toward dark colors, perhaps due to the severe depression that ended in his suicide.

The wall paintings for a nondenominational church in Houston, Texas (1967-1969), possess a transcendental quality. Rothko consider these his masterwork. Another series of nine paintings with black on red and red on red  (1958-1959) was initially designed for a restaurant in the Seagram Building in New York and Rothko donated them to the Tale Gallery, just before his death.

In 1959, Rothko said, "A painting is not a picture of an experience, but is the experience". During the decades, he created pictures that evoke feelings of sorrow and of human drama, rather than pictures of birth and burial of Christ, with formal and symbolic meanings.

The subject of Rothko's paintings are so deeply tied in with their structures that to imagine separating the two deviates from his artistic experience. His works symbolically present simple yet extraordinary and concentrated pictures. The concentration, expansiveness and simplicity of structure in Rothko's paintings are such that they immediately evoke deep feelings in viewers and respond to their spiritual needs, and thus it produces a great perceptual effect. Communicating with the viewer was always an important aim of Rothko's.

In 1958, he said, "Painting is a language for exchange of truths about needs".

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Research: Art

Russian Painters

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