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"Agnes Martin once praised fellow abstract expressionist Mark Rothko's paintings for having “reached zero so that nothing could stand in the way of truth."
“If you are only moved by color relationships [in my paintings], you are missing the point. I am interested in expressing the big emotions - tragedy, ecstasy, doom.” Mark Rothko
“A picture lives by companionship, expanding and quickening in the eyes of the sensitive observer. It dies by the same token. It is therefore a risky and unfeeling act to send it out into the world.” Mark Rothko, 1947
...born Marcus Rothkowitz...
(b. Dvinsk [now Daugavpils, Latvia], 25 Sept. 1903; d. New York, 25 Feb. 1970). Russian-born American painter, one of the outstanding figures of Abstract Expressionism and one of the creators of Color Field Painting. He emigrated to the USA as a child in 1913. After dropping out of Yale University in 1923 he moved to New York and studied at the Art Students League under Max Weber, but he regarded himself as essentially self-taught as a painter. (http://artuk.org/discover/artists/rothko-mark-19031970/search/nationality:American/page/8)
After 24 years together Rothko and his wife separated on New Year’s Day 1969. He subsequently moved into his East 69th Street studio.
On Feb. 25, 1970, Rothko’s assistant found the artist lying dead on the floor in his bathroom in a pool of blood. He had cut his arms with a razor blade. He was 66 years old. (http://artistandstudio.tumblr.com/tagged/quote/page/3)
Rothko’s reputation as an abstract artist largely rests on his famous paintings of vibrantly colored rectangles. These works were widely praised for their use of color to provoke emotional responses. But Rothko despised such praise and apparently wished to be taken more seriously as an artist and not... (http://listverse.com/2015/07/18/10-final-paintings-by-artists-who-committed-suicide/)