Mark Rothko (American, 1903-1970)
Oil on canvas, Framed: 202 x 207 x 3.5 cm (79 1/2 x 81 1/2 x 1 3/8 in.); Unframed: 200.7 x 205.7 cm (79 x 81 in.). Contemporary Collection and Friends of The Cleveland Museum of Art 1962.239
When asked to explain the aims of his art, Rothko famously answered, "I'm interested only in expressing basic human emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom, and so on. . . ." Most of the artist's mature works feature diffuse areas of color appearing to float against a background of different hue. A painstaking craftsperson, Rothko typically applied several layers of diluted paint to each canvas, sometimes rubbing the wet surfaces gently with cloths, in order to achieve his ethereal effects.
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