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In 222 Bowery is the former studio of American artist Mark Rothko. Rothko was a Russian immigrant who was closely associated with the American Abstract Expressionist movement of modern art. Rothko's brand of Abstract Expressionism stood out from the rest due to it's simplicity, and large plain areas of melting color. As a result of this, Rothko is heavily credited for his contributions to Color Field painting.

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Markus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, or Mark Rothko, was born September 26,1903 in Dvinsk, Russia. At 10, Rothko and his family moved to the U.S. to settle in Portland, Oregon. Rothko was gifted academically, which opened up many opportunities for him growing up. Rothko knew 4 languages, and before pursuing the arts, moved towards science at Yale, which he eventually walked away from.

Having no traditional training in drawing or painting, Rothko still aimed to work in art. Through odd jobs Rothko would meet various renowned artists, piquing his interests in a variety of art forms. Along with the types of paintings he did, Rothko constantly shifted the subject matter and outside influences in his painting.

Rothko’s relationship with art is a deeply personal one that is almost completely unfettered by the money behind it. Rothko’s feelings towards the potential wealth behind his own art were so negative and strong that his own eventual success would weigh on him. Naturally Rothko’s clear declaration of being a socialist plays into his distaste for wealth, however, his greatest concern was that it would draw the wrong crowd towards his work. While open to the purchase of his paintings, Rothko was critical over the reason for purchase, and feared people who sought out his paintings for superficial reasons. Additionally, Rothko outright refused to sell his work to anybody who he felt reacted “incorrectly” to his paintings. Moreover on reactions, Rothko was particular regarding the interpretation of his paintings, rather, he rejected any attempt to. In his own words, “Explanation must come out of a consummate experience between picture and onlooker.”

As said before, Rothko’s art was constantly shifting and evolving. By the 1940s, Rothko had transitioned into an abstract style that permeated through every aspect of his work. This was the result of him joining the Abstract Expressionists. Rothko’s paintings are said to elicit intense emotions along with feelings of mystery and isolation. Ultimately, Rothko was most well known for his Color Field paintings, to which it’s said he made massive contributions at the height of his career. Color Field paintings are self explanatory on the surface, at first glance, they’re very plainly applied rectangles of color on a canvas. However, the layering, color choice, and mixed colors involved allow the viewer to look into Rothko’s headspace, of course, Rothko encouraged the paintings to be viewed from up close, as the subtleties of the fields of color are intended to provoke a variety of emotions.

Barris, Roann. Mark Rothko: The Artist's Reality. Accessed February 28th 2021.


    The Artist's Reality website on Mark Rothko provides a detailed look on Rothko and his art. The website introduces many of Rothko’s pieces and takes steps to explain and interpret them. The detailed explanations provided are deeply personal, and paint an intricate image as to who Rothko was. The website also includes many direct references to Rothko’s book, ‘The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art’ providing a deeper look into his thoughts. The site is useful in that it focuses entirely on Rothko and his work, however it’s connections to Rothko and the world are slim.


This website was found by searching for scholarly articles under ‘Mark Rothko’ on google.


Pappas, Andrea. HAUNTED ABSTRACTION Mark Rothko, witnessing and the Holocaust in 1942, Taylor & Francis. July 9th 2009. Accessed February 28th 2021.


     The article ‘Haunted Abstraction’ explains Mark Rothko’s reactions to World War Two and the holocaust. The article begins with a brief biography of Rothko’s life and origins regarding art. The majority of the article details Rothko’s response to the events of World War Two. Rothko’s responses are shown in his art, and in his writings. The site is useful almost in its entirety due to its explanations about Rothko and the world around him, however, it falls short when it begins to delve into points apart from Rothko entirely.


This website was found by searching ‘Mark Rothko’ using the UCF Library’s OneSearch feature.