Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop Now

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
20
4.6 out of 5 stars


TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2013
It is probably impossible in a book to present the artistic development of an artist whose work crucially depends upon its size that provides an opportunity for the viewer to step inside it, and who always refused to interpret his paintings since `the explanation must come out of a consummated experience between picture and onlooker'. Nevertheless, this Taschen book, by Jacob Baal-Teshuva, examines the life and work of Mark Rothko who is generally regarded, along with Jackson Pollock, to be one of the fathers of post-war modernism, influencing the direction of late 20th century monochrome painting.

The colour reproduction, including 30 full page plates, is of very high quality. Following an introduction, `Pictures as Drama', 85 reproductions are presented within a chronological narrative. The book concludes with an illustrated Chronology and a Selected Bibliography. The author divides Rothko's career into 4 stages: `the Realist years' (1924-1940), `the Surrealist years' (1940-1946), `the Transitional years' (1946-1949) and `the Classical years' (1949-1970). The first 2 stages centred on landscapes, interiors, city scenes, still-lifes and the artist's New York subway paintings. During the wartime and immediate post-war periods, Rothko produced symbolic works based on Greek mythology and religious motifs. During the Transitional stage, the artist created `multiforms', not a term used by the artist, which evolved into his classical Colour Field works.

Rothko, influenced by Max Weber and Milton Avery, initially produced watercolour beach scenes and joined Gallery Secession and The Ten, both promoting an avant-garde, modernist aesthetic. "Untitled [Subway]", c. 1937, affirms the artist's opinion that modern urban life was both lonely and isolating. Adolph Gottlieb and Rothko began to paint works inspired by mythology, such as "Antigone", 1939-40, and "The Omen", 1943, in the early 1940s to identify a possible way forward for American painting and to address fundamental questions of humanity. However critical opinion was largely negative. Rothko was impressed by the large non-figurative works of Clyfford Still which led him to move away from representational works and to consider his works to be `dramas'. In 1946-47 the artist finally impressed critics with a show of his watercolours and agreed for his work to be sold through a gallery.

The artist no longer gave his works names (where names are mentioned they are usually a result of dealer's descriptions), increased the size of his canvasses and in his multiforms, such as "No. 26", and "No. 18", both from 1948, he separated his blocks of colour from the edges of the paintings and did away with frames. His colour hues also changed with time, before the mid-1950s he preferred reds and yellows, as in "Untitled, 1948", whilst later he increasingly painted in dark blues and greens, creating gloomy, mysterious works. About this time tensions developed amongst Abstract Impressionists, with personal, professional and political differences causing Rothko to break with many colleagues and friends, including Still and Barnett Newman. The artist felt that he was misunderstood and not appreciated, and rejected all attempts to get him to explain his work.

In 1958, the artist painted murals for the Seagram Building restaurant. Later, he abandoned the project up and the works were eventually divided between America, Japan and Britain. Abstract Expressionism also came under attack from younger and more modern exponents of Pop Art, who exploited images from advertising and mass media. He was also discouraged by problems of lighting some of his works at Harvard, "Panel One (Harvard Mural Triptych)", 1962.

The book illustrates many of Rothko's signature works from the mid-late 1960s, including those from his final years where, with assistants, he explored dark colours, mirroring his melancholy and depression that led to his suicide, in 1970. This is a well-presented and illustrated introduction to the artist. The illustration on the front cover is "Untitled (Yellow, Red and Blue)", 1953.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 5 August 2017
Maybe the most beautiful book I've ever read. Mark Rothko`s paintings are amazingly wonderful and are reproduced brilliantly in the book.This life - story is really worth studying, Thank You Very Much!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 September 2017
As Described
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 December 2016
I expected the book to be bigger
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 9 September 2011
Published in 2003, this book takes readers through all of Rothko's career and life, full of colourful picture of his paintings, old and new. Not until page fifty, however, do we meet the Rothko most people know. This helps to illustrate the struggle he had before he found his best known approach to painting and how little time he had to enjoy it before he committed suicide in 1970. (Perhaps an insight to keep in mind when considering other artists; being original is never easy and the blank canvas/page/manuscript paper is always a challenge.)

He deals well with his smaller, human-scale and brighter palette paintings fairly well before reaching his best-known, darker works, although I always think it is a pity that many know Rothko only from Tate Modern's iconic 'Rothko Room', The Seagram Murals, originally commissioned for The Four Seasons Restaurant in the Seagram Building New York. The subdued lighting, at Rothko's request, lends the room an aura quite different from the rest of the light coloured and brightly-lit gallery and viewers speak in subdued, almost reverential voices. These iconic paintings, composed of luminous, soft-edged rectangles saturated with colour - deep dark reds, oranges, maroons, browns, blacks, and greys - are among the most enduring and mysterious created by a modern artist. I always think Rothko painted these in the darkest of moods, for a purpose not seen in his work before. In a sad irony, these paintings arrived and were opened at Tate Britain on the morning of February 25th, 1970, the day he was found dead in a wine-dark sea of his own blood.

His earlier work is of a much more human scale in a bright, light, refreshing and invigorating palette; these are no less dynamically vital but much less intense (or a different type of intensity).

It is a fascinating, small-format, reasonably-priced book with insights into the early and later work of a much misunderstood painter.

Recommended
0Comment| 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 29 November 2004
Having been delighted by some of Mark Rothko's paintings in the Tate Modern, I bought this book to learn more about the man and his work and was not at all disappointed. For a slim book it contains a large selection of colourful pictures and excellent text. Just the right size to slip in a bag to read on a train journey too!
0Comment| 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 8 October 2013
It is probably impossible in a book to present the artistic development of an artist whose work crucially depends upon its size that provides an opportunity for the viewer to step inside it, and who always refused to interpret his paintings since `the explanation must come out of a consummated experience between picture and onlooker'. Nevertheless, this Taschen book, by Jacob Baal-Teshuva, examines the life and work of Mark Rothko who is generally regarded, along with Jackson Pollock, to be one of the fathers of post-war modernism, influencing the direction of late 20th century monochrome painting.

The colour reproduction, including 30 full page plates, is of very high quality. Following an introduction, `Pictures as Drama', 85 reproductions are presented within a chronological narrative. The book concludes with an illustrated Chronology and a Selected Bibliography. The author divides Rothko's career into 4 stages: `the Realist years' (1924-1940), `the Surrealist years' (1940-1946), `the Transitional years' (1946-1949) and `the Classical years' (1949-1970). The first 2 stages centred on landscapes, interiors, city scenes, still-lifes and the artist's New York subway paintings. During the wartime and immediate post-war periods, Rothko produced symbolic works based on Greek mythology and religious motifs. During the Transitional stage, the artist created `multiforms', not a term used by the artist, which evolved into his classical Colour Field works.

Rothko, influenced by Max Weber and Milton Avery, initially produced watercolour beach scenes and joined Gallery Secession and The Ten, both promoting an avant-garde, modernist aesthetic. "Untitled [Subway]", c. 1937, affirms the artist's opinion that modern urban life was both lonely and isolating. Adolph Gottlieb and Rothko began to paint works inspired by mythology, such as "Antigone", 1939-40, and "The Omen", 1943, in the early 1940s to identify a possible way forward for American painting and to address fundamental questions of humanity. However critical opinion was largely negative. Rothko was impressed by the large non-figurative works of Clyfford Still which led him to move away from representational works and to consider his works to be `dramas'. In 1946-47 the artist finally impressed critics with a show of his watercolours and agreed for his work to be sold through a gallery.

The artist no longer gave his works names (where names are mentioned these generally result from dealer's descriptions), increased the size of his canvasses and in his multiforms, such as "No. 26", and "No. 18", both from 1948, he separated his blocks of colour from the edges of the paintings and did away with frames. His colour hues also changed with time, before the mid-1950s he preferred reds and yellows, as in "Untitled, 1948", whilst later he increasingly painted in dark blues and greens, creating gloomy, mysterious works. About this time tensions developed amongst Abstract Impressionists, with personal, professional and political differences causing Rothko to break with many colleagues and friends, including Still and Barnett Newman. The artist felt that he was misunderstood and not appreciated, and rejected all attempts to get him to explain his work.

In 1958, the artist painted murals for the Seagram Building restaurant. Later, he abandoned the project up and the works were eventually divided between America, Japan and Britain. Abstract Expressionism also came under attack from younger and more modern exponents of Pop Art, who exploited images from advertising and mass media. He was also discouraged by problems of lighting some of his works at Harvard, "Panel One (Harvard Mural Triptych)", 1962.

The book illustrates many of Rothko's signature works from the mid-late 1960s, including those from his final years where, with assistants, he explored dark colours, mirroring his melancholy and depression that led to his suicide, in 1970. This is a well-presented and illustrated introduction to the artist. The illustration on the front cover is "Untitled (Yellow, Red and Blue)", 1953.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 25 October 2014
I don't understand why the author introduces the painters mother as Anna and later on refers to her with the name Kate. What did he miss, what are we missing? Of course, this book is about Rothko and his paintings. But to fully understand the painter one must have some background information and this should be accurate. Maybe it is not possible to print all his paintings, no problem, the book is full with paintings.But why not mentioning /printing the last painting Rothko was working on is a mystery to me.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 20 April 2016
Amazing!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 27 October 2009
If you do not want to spend a fortune and still read a good introduction to Mark Rothko's work, this is the best choice. It covers the whole career of the artist in a text that is easy to read, with surprisingly good illustrations of famous or rarely-seen works (many in private collections, such as the one that graces the cover). This is what you call good value for your money. Do not expect, however, to find a comprehensive analysis of every single illustrated work; I would call this book "Rothko for beginners", which is, in no way, a negative opinion.
0Comment| 10 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)