Boxed Cards Rothko Assorted
Mark Rothko was one of a small group of great artists who established New York City as central to the art world in the 1950s. While his work was an enormous critical success, critics had trouble writing about it: in that formalist era, a painting had to be considered strictly as itself; to write criticism that mentioned a work’s emotional or spiritual effect on the writer was really not acceptable. Rothko’s paintings had viewers—Robert Hughes, Robert Goldwater, John Ashbery—publicly scolding one another for describing them in the words of people who had been profoundly, subjectively, emotionally affected.
Rothko, with his fellow Abstract Expressionist Adolph Gottlieb, famously wrote in 1943: “We favor the simple expression of the complex thought.” Stunningly full of silent communication, these richly hued paintings are Rothko’s thoughts made manifest.