National Gallery Of Art: Mark Rothko

Mark Rothko was born on September 25, 1903 in Dvinsk, Russia. Rothiko was given his first one-man exhibition in 1933 at the Museum of Art in Portland, and a few months later, his first in New York at the Contemporary Arts Gallery. He was employed by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) where he produced many subway scenes emphasizing the isolation of riders. During the period between the 1930s to 1946, Rothiko’s paintings that were made of oil and watercolor reflected interest in Greek mythology, primitive art, and Christian tragedy. Those elements of interest were later abandoned, and Rothiko reached a signature format by 1947. That format consists of painting two or three soft-edged rectangles, stacked on top of each other, and floating horizontally against the ground. Rothko’s classic paintings from 1949 to 1970 are displayed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. These classical paintings abandoned conventional titles, restoring to numbers or colors in order to distinguish works from each other.