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Mark Rothko

September 25, 1903 - February 25, 1970


Latvian/American artist Mark Rothko (b. 1903 – d. 1970) was born in Dvinsk, Russia, (now Daugavpils, Latvia). Rothko’s initial name was Markus Rothkowitz. The son of a pharmacist, Rothko was the fourth kid out of all his siblings. He was a Latvian Jew, which was partially why he and his family immigrated to the US when he was around 10. They settled in Portland, Oregon, where Rothko grew up. Rothko attended a prestigious college, for a time, where he learned of his passion for art and became an artist.

In Rothko’s early years, he had fun being part of the New York’s Art Students League. Rothko studied with Max Weber, who told him to paint like Cézanne. At the start of the Second World War, he became a teacher to children at the Center Academy of the Brooklyn Jewish Center. Rothko remained a teacher at the Academy for more than 20 years. He also taught as side job for his artistry in painting. He painted everything from people to everyday scenes of life.

Rothko had his first solo exhibition in 1933, followed by one in New York at the New York School, an established group where artists could display their works. He was also a part of Gallerié Succession. Aspects of Rothko’s core beliefs included the perception of others as well as perception itself, aspects of the way architecture was built, and the painting itself versus the viewer of the painting. These beliefs played a part throughout Rothko’s career.

Perhaps the most famous and well-known of Rothko’s works are those that have shapes incorporated in them. Another well heard of series of pieces are the tri-toned and, two-toned works of art. Rothko’s name would eventually be equated with these two or tri-toned paintings. Sadly, Rothko passed by suicide in 1970. His multi-colored paintings remain a legacy of his works.

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