Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz; was an American painter of Latvian Jewish descent. He is generally identified as an Abstract Expressionist, although he himself rejected this label and even resisted classification as an “abstract painter.” With Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, he is one of the most famous postwar American artists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko

“When I was a younger man, art was a lonely thing. No galleries, no collectors, no critics, no money. Yet, it was a golden age, for we all had nothing to lose and a vision to gain. Today it is not quite the same. It is a time of tons of verbiage, activity, consumption. Which condition is better for the world at large I shall not venture to discuss. But I do know, that many of those who are driven to this life are desperately searching for those pockets of silence where we can root and grow. We must all hope we find them.”

“The romantics were prompted to seek exotic subjects and to travel to far off places. They failed to realize that, though the transcendental must involve the strange and unfamiliar, not everything strange or unfamiliar is transcendental.”

“…like any organic substance, art must always be in a state of flux, the tempo being slow or fast. But it must move.”

“The most important tool the artist fashions is faith in his ability to produce miracles when they are needed.”

“All of art is a portrait of an idea.”

dressedinblack_Mark_Rothko_painter4

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“I also hang the pictures low rather than high, and particularly in the case of the largest ones, often as close to the floor as is feasible, for that is the way they are painted.”

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“They begin as an unknown adventure in an unknown space.”

FourDarksRedFour Darks in Red, 1958, Whitney Museum of American Art

“I realize that historically the function of painting large pictures is painting something very grandiose and pompous. The reason I paint them, however . . . is precisely because I want to be very intimate and human. To paint a small picture is to place yourself outside your experience, to look upon an experience as a stereopticon view or with a reducing glass. However you paint the larger picture, you are in it. It isn’t something you command!”

RothkoBlackGrayUntitled (Black on Grey), 1970

“The most interesting painting is one that expresses more of what one thinks than of what one sees.”

“There is only one thing I fear in life, my friend: one day, the black will swallow the red.”

“While the authority of the doctor or plumber is never questioned, everyone deems himself a good judge and an adequate arbiter of what a work of art should be and how it should be done.”

 

1968

Despite his fame, Rothko felt a growing personal seclusion and a sense of being misunderstood as an artist. He feared that people purchased his paintings simply out of fashion and that the true purpose of his work was not being grasped by collectors, critics, or audiences. He wanted his paintings to move beyond abstraction, as well as beyond classical art. For Rothko, the paintings were objects that possessed their own form and potential, and therefore, must be encountered as such. Sensing the futility of words in describing this decidedly non-verbal aspect of his work, Rothko abandoned all attempts at responding to those who inquired after its meaning and purpose, stating finally that silence is “so accurate.” “My paintings’ surfaces are expansive and push outward in all directions, or their surfaces contract and rush inward in all directions. Between these two poles, you can find everything I want to say.”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Rothko

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