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Mark Rothko

/Works and biography

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Sacrifice, April 1946
Watercolor, gouache, and india ink on paper, 100.2 x 65.8 cm
Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice 76.2553 PG 154
© Kate Rothko Prizel and Christopher Rothko, by SIAE 2008


During the late 1930s and early 1940s Mark Rothko, like William Baziotes, Adolph Gottlieb, and Theodoros Stamos, combined mythical themes with primordial imagery in order to express universal experiences. In his work of this period evanescent biomorphic shapes float within an atmospheric haze. Resembling rudimentary life forms or primitive subaquatic plants and creatures, these shapes are intended to provide a visible equivalent of images lodged in the subconscious. Though he drew primarily on his innermost sensations, Rothko also looked toward earlier art. The example of Joan Miró is here evoked in the dotted line, the flame, the amorphic personage at the lower left, and in the meandering threadlike tendrils.

credits: Hangar Design Group