Mark Rothko : toward the light in the chapel

by Annie Cohen-Solal

Paper Book, 2015




New Haven : Yale University Press, 2015.


"Mark Rothko was not only one of the most influential American painters of the twentieth century; he was a scholar, an educator, and a deeply spiritual human being. Born Marcus Yakovlevich Rotkovitch, he emigrated from the Russian Empire to the United States at age ten, already well educated in the Talmud and carrying with him bitter memories of the pogroms and persecutions visited upon the Jews of Latvia. Few artists have achieved success as quickly, and by the mid-twentieth century, Rothko's artwork was being displayed in major museums throughout the world. In May 2012 his painting Orange, Red, Yellow was auctioned for nearly $87 million, setting a new Christie's record. Author Annie Cohen-Solal gained access to archival materials no previous biographer had seen. As a result, her book is an extraordinarily detailed portrait of Rothko the man and the artist, an uncommonly successful painter who was never comfortable with the idea of his art as a commodity"--… (more)

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In this biographical study on Rothko, Annie Cohen-Solal searches an answer to the question if there is a relation to Mark Rothko's Jewish background and his development into abstract art. His Jewish roots connects him to other artists who also developed in this way. She went for her research to the city Dinsk, now Daugavpils in Letland, where Rothko was born in 1903. Although his father was a progressive pharmacist, he sent his youngest son to the traditionalTalmud school. Cohen-Solal brings this schooling on the interpretation of texts into connection with Rothko's later abstract art. Cohen-Solal makes plausible that painting for Rothko was foremost a philosophical activity.… (more)


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