Mark Rothko

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Mark Rothko was a Russian born American painter and printmaker. His style and use of color classified him as an abstract expressionist. Mark Rothko was born on September 25, 1903 in Russia. He was the fourth child of Jacob Rothkowitz, a pharmacist who brought his family a modest living. To avoid his sons from being drafted into the army, Jacob Rothkowitz and his family immigrated to the United States. They settled in Portland, Oregon when Mark was ten years old. A few months after they arrived, Jacob Rothkowitz died, leaving his family with little economic resources. Mark first started school in 1913, he accelerated past his grade level and he later received a scholarship to Yale. After his second year, Mark dropped out of Yale. In 1923 Mark Rothko found work in and moved to New York City. While he visited a friend at the Art Students League of New York, he realized his calling was to be an artist. He then began to study under the artist Max Weber, he was primarily self-taught. He was encouraged to see art as a tool for expression and this idea translated to his paintings. In his early works, such as Subway and Street Scene, Mark used abstract composition to convey representational portrayal rather than realistic. After experimenting with other art styles, Mark Rothko came to the conclusion that his future lay in abstract expressionism. During this time, paintings such as Orange and Yellow and Saffron featured bright and vibrant, but also hazy colors, which added a sense of drama and light to the works. By the 1960s, the popularity of abstract expressionism began to fade. This made Mark Rothko even more uncertain and critical about his ability as an artist. In 1964, he received a commission to create a series of paintings for the chapel at St. Thomas University. His works were rectangular fields of color and light which were inspired by mythology and books read by Rothko. On February 25, 1940, before his art works were installed into the chapel, Mark Rothko was...
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