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Mark Rothko: Subjects in Abstraction (Yale Publications in the History of Art) Paperback – January 23, 2001

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Product Details

  • Series: Yale Publications in the History of Art (Book 39)
  • Paperback: 229 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (January 23, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300049617
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300049619
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 7.3 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,340,955 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Ms. Chave's book is quite a good introduction to 1950's abstract-expressionist art in general, and to Rothko in particular. She convincingly traces his development from realistic imagery through Miro-like surrealism to his distinctive ethereal but emotional rectangles. Along the way, she makes a good case for his stubborn insistence that his work did, in fact, have a subject. At least one other art-thinker, Georgia O'Keeffe, caught on to this (in a documentary made a few years before she died, O'Keeffe commented that a Rothko piece in the MOMA seemed like a timeline of a man's life), as did at least one of Rothko's more sensitive collectors (this is chronicled in the book). This, in my opinion, is why Rothko's work isn't ideally suited for calm meditation, unlike that of some other abstract artists (which is not to say that being meditative is a bad thing, by the way). I would recommend this book to anyone who doesn't quite get modern art, and is willing to put some effort into the task.
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I am a life-long fan of Mark Rothko's mature paintings, but I was always curious about how he arrived at his large field format. This book took me through his early works all the way through his last few paintings. It is an exhaustive analysis of Rothko's concept and execution. I highly recommend it to anyone wishing to understand this giant of the Modern era.
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