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Rothko artist with his paintings

Mark Rothco

Russian-born American painter Mark Rothko is usually classified as an abstract expressionist painter. However, he rejected this label as he was more concerned with investigating meaning through his art. 
Rothco's Jewish family emigrated to Oregon IN the US to avoid persecution in Russia when he was ten. In 1923 he left to move to New York, where he attended the art students league. 
In  1935, he co-founded 'The Ten,' a group of artists who painted in expressionist Styles. 
He soon moved into a more Surelistic phase inspired by Max Earnst and Miro.   From 1947, he began developing his distinctive mature style abandoning any realistic representations and painting large hazy edged patches of color. His canvases were usually large, and the colors appeared to float, emitting feelings of Tranquillity. He said he was not an abstract artist and not interested in color relationships but in expressing human emotions. He drew on his inner feelings and said,

For most of his career, Rothko remained poor. He taught at the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco in the 1940s. Rothko collaborated with artists, including Clifford Still, Robert Motherwell, and Barnett Newman, in running a new york art school called The Subjects of the Artist. He taught in the art department at Brooklyn College from 1951 for three years. By that time, his reputation was growing, and he was becoming more successful. However, as a knowledgeable and thoughtful man, he feared his work was misunderstood. He suspected that people bought his painting simply because they were fashionable and that the true purpose of this work -the expression of human emotions- needed to be realized. By 1958 these expressions were becoming increasingly unhappy. He began replacing bright reds, yellows, oranges with dark blues, browns, and maroons, and his last works were a series of monochromatic canvases. Rothco died  in his  studio at the age of 67

quote from Rothko
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