Mark Rothko, ‘Untitled’, 1954, RISD Museum

Image rights: © Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Publisher: Artists Rights Society

RISD Museum. Museum purchase in honor of Daniel Robbins: The Chace Fund, The Collectors' Acquisition Fund, Georgianna Sayles Aldrich Fund, Mary B. Jackson Fund, Walter H. Kimball Fund, Jesse Metcalf Fund, Museum Gift Fund, and gifts of Mrs. George Harding, Mrs. Lewis Madeira, Mrs. Malcolm Farmer, Mrs. Frank Mauran, George H. Waterman III, Mrs. Murray S. Danforth, Mrs. Russell Field, Mrs. Albert Pilavin, Mr. and Mrs. Bayard Ewing, Mr. and Mrs. Tracy Barnes, Mr. and Mrs. William Boardman, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Neuberger, Mrs. Lee Day Gillespie, Mr. and Mrs. Carl Haffenreffer, and Richard Brown Baker. 71.091.

About Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko’s search to express profound emotion through painting culminated in his now-signature compositions of richly colored squares filling large canvases, evoking what he referred to as “the sublime.” One of the pioneers of Color Field Painting, Rothko’s abstract arrangements of shapes, ranging from the slightly surreal biomorphic ones in his early works to the dark squares and rectangles in later years, are intended to evoke the metaphysical through viewers’ communion with the canvas in a controlled setting. “I'm not an abstractionist,” he once said. “I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions: tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on.” His “Rothko Chapel Paintings” (1964-1967), 14 wall-sized monochromatic black paintings installed in a non-denominational church in Houston, Texas, represent the realization of Rothko’s desire that his work be viewed in close quarters.

American, 1903-1970, Dvinsk, Russia, based in New York, New York