Mark Rothko Paintings

mark rothko's biography

Early Mark Rothko works, which included landscapes, still lifes, character analyses, and portraiture displayed a talent for combining Expressionism with Surrealism.  His pursuit of new ways to express himself led to the creation of his Color Field pieces, which used iridescent color to create a feeling of spirituality.


Rothko immigrated to the United States in 1910. He was offered a scholarship at Yale University, but he soon discovered that the environment there was traditional and restrictive, and he dropped out without graduating in 1923.

early training

Rothko’s early works were primarily portraits, nudists, and urban settings. On a subsequent journey to Portland, Rothko was selected to appear in a 1928 group show at the Opportunity Gallery.

mature period

In the 1930s, his work, influenced by Expressionism, was characterized by claustrophobic, urban themes depicted in frequently acidic hues such as Entrance to Subway (1938).

late period

At 66, Rothko committed suicide. Some speculated that like other troubled artists before him, Rothko had succumbed to the tormented artist’s process of self-annihilation.


To be in the company of a Rothko is to be in the company of the pulsating vibrancy of his huge paintings; to experience, if only for a few moments, something of the magnificent spirituality he tirelessly attempted to inspire.


Painting absorbed Rothko’s life, and while he did not earn the recognition he believed his art merited during his life, his popularity has grown considerably in the years after his death.

important mark rothko paintings

Crucifixion (1935) Entrance to Subway (1938) Slow Swirl at the Edge of the Sea (1944) No. 9 (1947) The Rothko Chapel (1965)