ARTS & CULTURE

Remembering Rothko: Beloved Color Field Painter Died 43 Years Ago Today... And More Arts News

02/25/2013 09:40 am ET | Updated Feb 25, 2013

Marcus Yakovlevich Rothkowitz, better known as Mark Rothko, was discovered dead in his apartment 43 years ago today.

In his lifetime Rothko created massive paintings of abstract yet tangible color fields. Although historically defined as an Abstract Expressionist, the painter resisted categorization and looked instead toward simple, primitive and transcendent understandings of art. In other words, Rothko's paintings featured fuzzy-edged blocks of color that swallowed the viewer whole.

rothko

The Jewish painter struggled with depression and possibly undiagnosed bipolar disorder during his life. In 1970, the artist committed suicide. He was 66 years years old. In a 2002 essay, Jonathan Jones at the Guardian writes, "Rothko's death changed everything. It transformed the meaning of his work, gave every encounter with his painting a terrible gravity."

The artist's body was discovered by his assistant Oliver Steindecker on the same day his now famed Seagram Murals arrived at the Tate for display. Rothko's legacy lives on today through his meditative art chapel, Broadway-adapted life story and an eternal fascination with his emotionally-gripping works.

We've created a slideshow remembering Rothko's life and art, from inspirational quotes to SFMOMA's delectable treat "Rothko toast." How has Mark Rothko's work affected your life? Let us know in the comments.

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Remembering Rothko

MORE ARTS NEWS:

Roz Chast Talks Art: The New Yorker cover artist explains her inner dialogue at museums: "If you saved up all of the pennies in your piggy bank (ha, ha, ha)…would it be the Manet over there? Or possibly that Hans Memling…But would it fit over the sofa?" (New Yorker)

Knoedler & Company Gallery In Hot Water... Again: "Now the shuttered gallery is being sued by an investor who says paintings from the same dealer are genuine and that Knoedler did not do enough to sell them." Fifth time is a charm, we hear? (New York Times)

Olympia Gets A Vacation: The sleepy courtesan is heading from the Musee D'Orsay to Venice, although the museum once decided "it would be better never to move it." (The Art Newspaper)

manet olympia venice

Édouard Manet, "Olympia" (1863). Oil on canvas.

El Museo del Barrio Named In Gender Discrimination Claim: The former director claims she was told to lose weight and dress better at work. Of her dismissal she replied: "This is beyond belief. I was doing my duties from the moment I stepped in to the moment I left." (New York Times)

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