Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko (1903-1970), originally Marcus Rothkovich, came from a Russian immigrant family that settled in Portland, Oregon in 1913. He studied liberal arts at Yale, as well as painting at the Art Students League. Later he taught at various locations, including the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco, and at The Subjects of the Artist, the art school he collaborated in running with Newman, Motherwell, Baziotes, and Hare. In his early career, his influences included Matisse in the treatment of colour and the Surrealists in subject matter and imagery. In 1935 he co-founded the Expressionist movement The Ten along with the artist Gottlieb. By 1947 he developed his mature, abstract style, characterised by a series of soft, monochromatic rectangular forms on a coloured background, which established Rothko as a chief exponent of colour-field painter. Though he employed a full spectrum of colours in these works, in the period leading up to his unfortunate suicide, his palette became increasingly subdued.