Mark Rothko  (American, 1903-1970) 

Mark Rothko (American, 1903–1970) was one of the leading members of the New York School of Abstract painters, and was best known for his meditative pieces featuring large, luminous blocks of color. Rothko was born Marcus Rothkowitz in Latvia, and moved with his family to the United States when he was 10 years old. In 1921, Rothko attended Yale University, where he planned to pursue a career as a lawyer or an engineer, but he abandoned his studies before graduating. Rothko then moved to New York and took classes at the Art Students League. Rothko’s early paintings, featuring urban scenes, landscapes, and figurative works with rough applications of paint, emphasized the expressive potential of art.

In the mid-1930s, he joined the Ten, a New York circle made up of many Modernist painters that would shape the next few decades of abstract painting in America: Ben-Zion (American, 1897–1987), Ilya Bolotowsky (American/Russian, 1907–1981), Adolph Gottlieb (American, 1903–1974), Louis Harris (1902–1970), Ralph Rosenborg (American, 1913–1992), Louis Schanker (American, 1903–1981), Nahum Tschacbasov (American/Russian, 1899–1984), Joseph Solman (American, 1909–2008), and Jack Kufeld (American, 1907–1990). In a search for new visual means to express the changing American landscape in wartime, Rothko’s 1940s works became increasingly symbolic, featuring Surrealist-influenced biomorphic forms. Towards the late 1940s and 1950s, he painted the works he is best known for: blocks of color in luminous washes that created large, contemplative forms on canvas.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, his works often assumed darker hues with rich, textured layers. Rothko spent several years concentrating on works for a chapel in Houston, reinforcing his unwavering belief in the spiritual and emotional qualities of Abstract Art. Rothko, who suffered from depression, took his own life in 1970; at that point, he had held a solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and was fully recognized as a leading American abstractionist. Retrospectives of his work have been held at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, the Tate Modern in London, the Hamburger Kunsthalle in Hamburg, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.

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Mark Rothko, Composition


Mark Rothko

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery
Mark Rothko, Interested in Purchasing Works


Mark Rothko
Interested in Purchasing Works
International Art Acquisitions
Mark Rothko, Mother and Child


Mark Rothko
Mother and Child

Washburn Gallery
Mark Rothko, Untitled


Mark Rothko
circa 1942

Washburn Gallery
Mark Rothko, Untitled, Study related to “Sacrifice of Iphigenia” (recto)Study related to “The Omen” (verso)


Mark Rothko
Untitled, Study related to “Sacrifice of Iphigenia” (recto)
Study related to “The Omen” (verso)


Washburn Gallery
Mark Rothko, Heads


Mark Rothko

Washburn Gallery
Past auction results (256)  View All
Mark Rothko, Untitled


Mark Rothko
Untitled, 1968
acrylic on paper laid on board


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Mark Rothko, Untitled


Mark Rothko
watercolor on paper


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Mark Rothko, Untitled


Mark Rothko
Untitled, 1959
oil on paper laid on canvas


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1903   Born Marcus Rothkowitz on September 25, in Dvinsk, Russia
1921 - 1923   Moved to the United States and attended Yale University, New Haven, on a scholarship
1923   Moved to New York and studied briefly at the Art Students League
1936 - 1937   Created paintings for the WPA Federal Art Project from 1936 to 1937
1948   Founded the short-lived Subjects of the Artist school in New York with William Baziotes, David Hare, and Robert Motherwell
1947 - 1949   Taught at the California School of Fine Arts, San Francisco
1970   Took his own life February 25, in his New York studio
2008 - 2009   Sept. 26 - Feb. 1, "ROTHKO", Tate Modern, London, England
2003 - 2007   Oct. 12 - Aug. 12, "Mark Rothko, The Mural Projects", National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1987   Tate Gallery, London, England (solo)
1984   National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. (toured the United States, 1984-86) (solo)
1981   Pace Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1978   Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (solo)
Pace Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1977   Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Mantua, Italy (solo)
1975   Cleveland Museum of Art (with Milton Avery and Jon Schueler)
1974   Newport Harbour Art Museum, Newport Beach, CA(solo)
1972   Hayward Gallery, London, England (solo)
1971   Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT (solo)
1970   Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (solo)
1965   Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy (solo)
1963   Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY (solo)
1961   Solo exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1958   Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1957   Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX (solo)
1954   Art Institute of Chicago (travelled to the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence) (solo)
1951   Betty Parsons Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1946   Mortimer Brandt Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
San Francisco Museum of Art (travelled to the Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California) (solo)
1945   Peggy Guggenheim gave Rothko a solo show at Art of This Century in New York
1940   Neumann-Willard Gallery, New York, NY (with Marcel Gromaire and Joseph Solman) (solo)
1933   First solo show took place at the Portland Art Museum
1933   First solo exhibition in New York at the Contemporary Arts Gallery
1928   First group exhibition at the Opportunity Galleries, New York, NY